Small towns like Summit are doing their best to find a way through the COVID-19 public health emergency. Friends and neighbors have fallen ill and sadly, some have passed away. The damage extends also to lost jobs, shuttered businesses, and growing anxiety around just what comes next.
Our local elected officials and city staff have continued to deliver essential services while other community leaders have jumped into action to support those on the front lines, in our ailing downtown, and at home among far too many local families in need.
Despite those valiant efforts, grim news has started to emerge for local governments at the forefront of this crisis. In fact, nearby Maplewood just reported an anticipated $1.5 million revenue shortfall, which could abruptly translate into layoffs, salary reductions, or other tough choices. Berkeley Heights is anticipating hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts to both operating and capital budgets.
So when last month, the federal government began dispensing trillions of dollars in desperately needed stabilization funds to those hardest hit by COVID-19, small towns like Summit had every right to expect some sort of backstop from Washington.
When pressed on the issue in an April 21, 2020 interview published by TapInto Springfield, our representative in Congress, Tom Malinowski, made clear his disappointment in the $2.2 trillion “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” also known as the “CARES Act”.
Unfortunately, none of the 74 towns, including Summit, that make up New Jersey's 7th Congressional District were eligible for direct municipal aid through the “CARES Act” which the Congressman voted to approve.
Summit has every reason to share in the disappointment – starting with disappointment in our Congressman Tom Malinowski who has failed to deliver for the small and sadly vulnerable communities he was elected to represent.
Steven Spurr - Chair, Summit Republicans