Township Slated To Receive Nearly $7 Million From Federal COVID Relief Program

Franklin Township is in line to receive more than $6.8 million in direct, flexible aid through the recently passed federal American Rescue Plan.

Franklin’s $6,819,531.17 is the largest amount of the aid earmarked for any Somerset County town, according to a joint press release issued by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez.

Somerset County towns will receive a total of $96,473,286, with $63.79 million going to county government.

The $1.9 trillion COVID relief package awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature contains $360 billion in state and local aid to help keep essential workers on the job, assist struggling families and small businesses, and make critical investments in infrastructure, according to the Senators’ press release.

The funding formula targets areas that are in the greatest need, according to the Senators’ press release.

Mayor Phil Kramer alluded to the aid near the end of the Township Council’s March 10 budget hearing.

Kramer said that he had been notified by U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) that Franklin was eligible for up to $6.8 million.

“We want everything we’re entitled to, but we don’t want to take from others,” he said. “We’re in pretty good shape.”

“We can help a lot of people with that money,” Kramer said.

“In the midst of the greatest public health and economic crises of our lifetimes, it is unacceptable New Jersey schools, hospitals, small businesses, and workers faced the additional threat of budgetary shortfalls,” Sen. Booker said in the press release.  “With state and local governments across our country facing the painful decisions of potentially laying off thousands of police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other essential workers, and cutting essential services, the full support of our federal government has never been more important to fight this pandemic.  The federal funding in this COVID relief package will help provide the relief that New Jerseyans desperately need, and I was proud to work with Senator Menendez in getting it across the finish line.”

“Our state and local governments have been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19,” Sen. Menendez said in the release.  “They have been bleeding resources for over a year while costs have soared and revenues have plummeted.  As a result, they have borne the brunt of the economic pain and desperately need help.  “This badly needed federal funding will not just keep the lights on at City Hall, it will also help our communities get more vaccines in people’s arms, keep our first responders, teachers and other essential workers on the job, maintain our infrastructure and critical services, help our small businesses stay afloat, and put us on a smoother path towards economic recovery after the pandemic.”

The direct, flexible funding can be used by state and local governments to pay COVID-related expenses; cover lost revenues due to the pandemic to maintain critical services and avoid layoffs of essential workers; provide additional assistance to residents and small businesses; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, according to the release.

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