Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) released the following statement after working to secure $7.1 million for Morris County and $1.8 million for Sussex County through the state’s allocation of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Governor Phil Murphy announced today that the remaining 12 counties in New Jersey who did not previously receive CRF funding would be awarded $37 million to reimburse them for COVID-19 response efforts and support future public health measures like testing for vulnerable populations. Additional federal funding for the counties will be available through FEMA.
Representative Sherrill started working with Senator Richard J. Codey (LD-27) and Senator Anthony Bucco (LD-25) this spring to urge Governor Murphy to provide direct relief from the CRF to Morris County. In early June, she brought together Senator Codey, Senator Bucco, Senator Steven V. Oroho (LD-24), and the Freeholder Directors and Administrators from Morris and Sussex Counties for a meeting with the Governor’s Office to highlight the work of the counties during the crisis and support funding.
“I know from so many conversations over the last five months that leaders in Morris and Sussex have worked hard to take care of our residents and address the public health threat of COVID-19,” said Representative Sherrill. “The fight against coronavirus requires partnership across all levels of government. Governor Murphy, Senators Codey, Bucco, and Oroho, alongside our Morris and Sussex County Freeholders and Administrators John Bonnani and Greg Poff, have been instrumental in working to get support to our counties to address coronavirus. Today’s announcement reflects a true collaborative effort. The funding, which uses federal Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars established by the CARES Act, will reimburse the counties for past efforts and will continue to be invested in future public health measures. More needs to be done, and I remain focused on advocating in Congress for further direct support for our state, our counties, and our municipalities.”
“The type of cooperation that brought about the funding agreement today needs to continue as we work through this crisis,” said Senator Codey. “We are in the fight against coronavirus together as a community, as a state, and as a nation. When it comes to keeping New Jersey residents safe, politics should never be involved. Thank you to Congresswoman Sherrill for all your work in Congress to support New Jersey.”
“I’m proud to have been a part of this bipartisan effort to secure $37 million in coronavirus relief funding for Morris County and the 11 other New Jersey counties that didn’t get direct aid from the federal government under the CARES Act,” said Senator Bucco. “The $7 million received by Morris County, the most of any of the 12 eligible counties, will allow the County to continue its coronavirus response efforts without negatively impacting property taxpayers. While more is still needed, this is a good first step.”
“We want to thank the state and Governor Murphy for this grant. We also need to acknowledge that we were very fortunate to have had the support of Senator Bucco, Congresswoman Sherrill, and Senator Codey advocating to the Governor’s Office to secure this funding,” said Morris County Administrator John Bonanni. “Without question their joint efforts helped the Governor to recognize how unequitable a rigid population requirement was in determining the distribution of financial aid in New Jersey, which has been hardest hit, second only to New York, by the pandemic.”
Rep. Sherrill continues to fight for additional direct aid for New Jersey. Alongside Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in the Senate, Rep. Sherrill introduced the bipartisan, bicameral SMART Act with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) in the House. The SMART Act will enhance the $150 billion Congress provided to assist state and local governments in the CARES Act, adding an additional $500 billion in funding, prioritizing assistance to the areas with the greatest need. It eliminates the current 500,000 resident population threshold, allowing every state, county, municipality, U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia to qualify for direct federal assistance, regardless of its size.