BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township is seeking its fair share.
Members of the township council approved a resolution that expressed disappointment regarding the lack of federal funding awarded to the township so far in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The resolution, which was unanimously approved by all five council members in a remote meeting April 16, also requested that Bridgewater be considered for any potential federal stimulus award funding in the future.
The resolution was authored by councilman Michael Kirsh. He explained that the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate ratified a stimulus package worth $2.2 trillion, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES.
Checks are being sent out to individuals, such as those who are on extended unemployment, and also to state and community relief funds, including $82.2 million in all to New Jersey.
None of that money, however, went to Bridgewater.
“We were not among those communities, which troubles me greatly,” said Kirsh.
He said Bridgewater is facing its own challenges with the current state of the world, including a potential loss of $1.8 million in tax revenue in an anticipated $45 million municipal budget for this year, along with projected higher expenses of at least $250,000.
He added that New York City had proclaimed a tax shortfall that same day, of more than $7 billion.
“Our taxpayers are being harmed by COVID-19,” said Kirsh.
Kirsh said he wants Bridgewater’s federal representatives to fight for the township. Council president Howard Norgalis said that Gov. Phil Murphy had also requested $9 billion for New Jersey that day.
Councilman Allen Kurdyla said that townships with populations of under 45,000 individuals seem to have been excluded from stimulus funding, a number which he added effectively eliminates all of Somerset County.
Kirsh said that the cut-off for aid was a minimum population of 50,000 people, although the county itself had received some funding.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of municipalities that do not meet the threshold,” said Kirsh.
He added that he wants Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Robert Menendez. and Rep. Tom Malinowski to fight for Bridgewater, but not necessarily to hold a press conference to do so.
“We should be heard as well,” said Kirsh, regarding the resolution if the federal government is going to assist other municipalities.
Council vice president Filipe Pedroso acknowledged Kirsh for his work on the resolution. He added it is something to lobby for on behalf of Bridgewater’s taxpayers, to save them money while hopefully putting more money into the municipality.
According to the resolution, a certified copy of the measure was to be transmitted electronically, to the offices of Menendez, Booker, Malinowski, Sen. Mike Doherty, Assemblyman John DiMaio, Assemblyman Erik Peterson, the clerk of the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the administrator of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District following its approval.