The Bayonne City Council has approved a resolution authorizing the further spending of federal COVID-19 recovery funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The council voted unanimously to do so at its November meeting.
Assistance to small businesses is a permitted use under plan, and due to the economic impact on local small businesses from the public health emergency, the city created a Small Business Grant Program.
Applications for the program for this year were accepted during August. According to the resolution, the applications were reviewed and vetted by the city’s financial advisor, NW Financial. In total, 220 small businesses were awarded with grant funds in the amount of $2,362,500.
This is thought to be the second round of small business grants that has been in the works for the past few months. Of the approximately $39.2 million awarded to Bayonne, the city has spent approximately $5 million of that already on the first round of awards for the city’s Small Business Grants Program, according to a rundown of the spending at the September council meeting.
As of September, the city had allocated approximately $8.2 million of the ARP funds thus far including the $5 million for the first round of awards. The other approximately $3.2 million consisted of approximately $1.8 million for payroll for public health workers, approximately $1.3 million for hiring police officers and firefighters, $125,000 to address Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), and $60,000 for public health expenses.
Future ARP spending?
Any spending of ARP funds by the administration has to receive council approval. The council has established a committee to help determine where the funds might best be spent.
However, the committee and its suggestions were met with resistance from City Hall. In response, Mayor James Davis said his administration “will listen to ideas from a variety of people, and will then take appropriate action.”
The additional $2.3 million brings the publicly known total amount of ARP funds spent by the city at roughly $10.5 million of the $39.2 million awarded to the city.
Bayonne’s $39.2 million was part of a larger $424,614,802 of ARP funding allocated to Hudson County. The county government received $130.4 million. The other $294 million went to municipalities. Jersey City received the most funds at about $145.8 million, followed by Bayonne with $39.2 million, Hoboken with $27.2 million, West New York with $26.8 million, Union City with $26.4 million, North Bergen with $17.8 million, Kearny with $4 million, Secaucus with $2.2 million, Harrison with $2 million, Weehawken with $1.4 million, Guttenberg with $1.1 million, and East Newark with $255,403.
More spending of ARP monies may be approved at upcoming council meetings. The City Council will meet next on Dec.15 at 7 p.m. in the municipal chambers in City Hall at 630 Avenue C. Residents can attend remotely or in person. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org and click the link on the calendar webpage.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.