County inserts American Rescue money into budget

Newton. Sussex County Commissioners will meet with county professionals and will seek input from the public on how to best use the federal funds. Christina Marks of CWA 1032 Branch 10 advocated for additional funds for county workers who have had to work onsite during the pandemic.

Newton /
| 19 Jul 2021 | 12:21

The Sussex County Commissioners on July 13 unanimously approved inserting about $13.7 million it expects to receive from the American Rescue Plan into the county budget.

Commissioners Director Dawn Fantasia was absent.

Deputy Director Anthony Fasano said he and Fantasia recently met with the county administration and other professionals to discuss the county’s strategy regarding how to spend American Rescue Plan money.

“I thought that meeting went very well,” Fasano said. “I think it’s accurate to say right now that we are assessing all of the information that we’ve been provided to make sure that we have a complete handle of it, what we can and what we can’t do with it. We’re just starting to evaluate possible priority projects and beginning to put together a possible priority list.”

Fasano said the county is also looking for community input.

Christina Marks, the president of Communications Workers of America Local 1032 Branch 10, pointed to a section of the American Rescue Plan Act that says eligible workers who are required to report to work sites during a pandemic can be awarded up to $13 per hour in addition to the wages they’ve otherwise received.

The limit is $25,000 per worker.

“Our CWA Local 1032 branch has many members who were unable to work remotely and had no choice but to work onsite and did so to ensure that there was a continuation of services to the county and to the residents,” Marks said. “They were exposed to hazards that put themselves and their families at risks.”

Fasano said he thought the Commissioners is willing to discuss that with the union and said he looked forward to doing that.

“This is certainly going to be a marathon,” Fasano said. “Certainly, it’s not going to be a sprint.”