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Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio announced today that the Board of Chosen Freeholders, in partnership with the Burlington County Bridge Commission, has garnered $925,000 in grants to help seniors and residents with disabilities through grant-writing services provided to towns as a shared service at no cost to local taxpayers.
The grants will be used to rehabilitate low-income housing in the municipalities of Pemberton Township, Beverly, and Burlington City and to make intersections compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in those towns.
“We are proud to provide these grants to towns so that they may afford critical projects to improve the lives of their residents,” said Director Garganio. “I congratulate the municipalities that were awarded; these grants are going towards good causes.”
“I must also commend the Bridge Commission and its professionals for their work in grant writing and procuring the funding that will save Burlington County taxpayers $925,000,” continued Garganio. “This now brings the total amount of grant dollars to $21.2 million dollars that the County, in partnership with the Bridge Commission, has been able to secure for our municipalities since 2006.”
Funding is provided through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and grants are administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Housing and Community Development. All are Small Cities Block Community Development Block Grants, which are designed to assist communities that demonstrate a need for the funds in order to update deteriorated housing, expand economic development opportunities, and generally raise the overall quality of life.
In Pemberton Township, the Small Cities grant of $400,000 would assist the Township in installing ADA curb ramps in its Lake Valley West and Rottau Village sections. Curb cuts are breaks in a curb that allow access to the roadway; they provide an accessible route that people with disabilities can use to safely transition from a roadway to a curbed sidewalk and vice versa. To allow people with disabilities to cross streets safely, the ADA requires that state and local governments provide curb ramps at pedestrian crossings and at public transportation stops where walkways intersect a curb.
Pemberton Township was also awarded a $175,000 Small Cities grant to rehabilitate approximately ten low-income housing units within the township.
Beverly and Burlington City will receive similar Small Cities grants of $175,000 each to rehabilitate approximately ten low-income housing units within the township.
“This shared service provides towns with funds they desperately need and couldn’t otherwise access for themselves,” said Chairman John B. Comegno. “And while the Bridge Commission’s return on investment for this service is 12.64 to 1, the real winners are the taxpayers, because they get a totally free service that pays dividends.”
The municipalities receiving Small Cities grants design their own projects and funding priorities. These locally developed projects are required to meet at least one of the following criteria: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or meet an urgent need created by a condition that poses a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available to meet such needs.
“The Commission’s economic development initiatives and pooled financing options have saved Burlington County residents more than $15.9 million dollars and garnered $14.8 million dollars in property grant monies for municipalities,” explained Garganio.
“Burlington County has made a tradition of cutting property taxes and enhancing the services we provide for our residents. We’re as committed as ever to working with the Bridge Commission to continue on that tradition,” Garganio concluded.
The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County.