Camden County Freeholders set aside $5M in CARES money for businesses

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge spanning the Delaware River between Camden N.J., foreground, and Philadelphia is reflected the mud revealed amid low and high tide, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge spanning the Delaware River between Camden N.J., foreground, and Philadelphia is reflected the mud revealed amid low and high tide, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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Camden County Freeholders have dedicated an additional $5 million to help small businesses and nonprofits who received grants through the federal CARES Act.

The county’s CARES Small Business Grant Program distributed a share of $25 million to 3,100 small businesses and nonprofits. Those entities will get an additional 20% on top of what they received.

Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli said they must use the CARES Act funds by Dec. 31 or lose them. The freeholders decided to use the leftover money as an extra boost to struggling businesses, though Cappelli hoped that another federal coronavirus relief package would have been approved by now.

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“We’re hoping that these additional funds will serve as a lifeline to our businesses and nonprofits until Washington comes up with another program to assist them,” Cappelli said.

Congress has yet to pass a new federal package to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. NPR reported Wednesday that congressional leaders were close to agreement on a $900 billion relief package.

Cappelli adds that he is frustrated, particularly at the U.S. Senate, for not moving faster on approving a deal.

“This is a national crisis that needs national attention,” he said. “Members of the Senate should really be ashamed of themselves for ignoring the needs of the American public the way they have.”

The additional funds will automatically be transferred to businesses this week.

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