NEW JERSEY -  On July 23rd, Governor Phil Murphy announced the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program funded through the CARES Act and managed by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA).

The program qualifies businesses in only 64 out of 565 municipalities to apply for grants up to $10,000.00 for lease costs. ”At first blush, this looked like a promising and exciting program for the small business community in New Jersey,” said Dunellen Mayor Jason Cilento. “While it still is for the municipalities that were fortunate enough to be included, it leaves the businesses in my town, and the vast majority of all New Jersey towns, on the outside looking in.

The Mayors for Main Street are asking the Governor and Legislature to create additional programs for the rest of the 501 municipalities who will not see any additional aid for their small businesses through this program. New Providence Mayor Al Morgan said, “the suburban communities have been paying the lion’s share and receive the least amount back. Our local small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and they need as much help to survive as the chosen 64 eligible communities. Our concerted goal is to make all communities eligible for this grant, and treat all businesses and communities fairly.”

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Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench said, “Every individual, family, business and government has skin in the game here. In order to get all of New Jersey’s economy up and running again, we should be investing more equitably into all 565 municipalities.”

Washington Township Mayor Matthew Murello said, “This is just another instance of bureaucrats in Trenton picking the winners and losers in this economic recovery.”

“This pandemic does not recognize municipal boundaries. Every small business in the state is struggling. I would like to call upon my Independent and Democratic colleagues across the State of New Jersey to join the ranks of Mayors advocating for their Main Streets during COVID-19 and beyond,” said Mendham Township Mayor Sarah Neibart. “Now more than ever, bi-partisan efforts are needed for each of our towns and small businesses.”

Founded in May of 2020, Mayors for “Main Street” is an alliance of Mayors representing towns spanning several New Jersey Counties. The group mission is to advocate for the swift and safe reopening of businesses within their communities. Businesses that have been drastically and negativity impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also serves as a platform for local elected officials to share experiences, ideas and best practices. For more information please visit or contact

Editor's Note: Mayors for Main Street recently welcomed Mayor Al Morgan as one of their newest members in a Facebook Post. 

"I am very excited about being invited to work with mayors who believe in the importance and the urgency for a vibrant downtown and a re-energized local economy for our communities. We are stronger together!" said Mayor Al Morgan in the post.