The Borough of Woodland Park was recently granted $689,641 by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This grant is for eligible expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Under the act, Passaic County was appropriated $87,564,767 to be dispersed to municipalities. Funds are aimed to cover expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 30, 2020 not accounted for in regular operating budgets. The Borough has approximately $300,000 in expenditures and anticipated COVID-19 related costs that can be covered by these funds.
Mayor Keith Kazmark noted at Wednesday’s Council meeting that the $689,641 is a number based off of a per-capita rate per resident and the town may not receive the full amount. The grant funds are just one tool that can help the town navigate through potential budget shortfalls.
While the Mayor noted that the Borough is currently at 92% in tax collection for this quarter, construction permit fees are down 68% and court fees are down 48% on the year. The concern is how that revenue shortfall flows into the next tax quarter, which has an Aug. 1 collection date.
There are other financial tools that may help minimize any long-term impact, the Mayor explained. There is Legislation recently passed by the Assembly that will allow towns to borrow to cover losses so they can continue essential operations. Mayor Kazmark also said that there is a Federal bill that, if passed, would provide relief to cover shortfalls and allow towns to pay off any money borrowed. The items would complement each other and allow towns to provide full service without any impact to the taxpayers.
Eligible expenditures that the Borough can have reimbursed through the CARES Act funds include payment for expenses for disinfection of public areas and facilities; payroll expenses for employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the health emergency; and expenses to improve telework capabilities for public employees.