Howell councilman suggests task force to help revive local economy

HOWELL – Township Councilman Thomas Russo wants to form an economic recovery task force to help Howell business owners regain the level at which they were operating prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

“The extent to which COVID-19 has impacted our local economy is still very much unknown. However, what is known is that there will be many challenges our local economy will have to overcome in order to return to pre-COVID levels. This is particularly true for our small businesses, many of whom have made their hardships public,” Russo said.

The councilman suggested that an economic recovery task force would have the characteristics of a public-private partnership in the sense that members of Howell’s government would team up with local business operators to increase economic activity in a safe and responsible way.

The initiative would seek to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on Howell’s economy by developing and putting into practice new ideas intended to accelerate the return of businesses to their previous vibrant state.

“Helping local business operators get back on their feet at this difficult time supports the Township Council’s long-standing goal of fostering a robust and growing economy that enables entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, offers valuable products and services, and increases tax revenues that get put to good use in our community,” Russo said.

Russo said he respectfully requested that his fellow council members support the initiative so the task force can start working to achieve its goals immediately.

“I feel it is our duty as a governing body to do everything we can to help our local economy not only bounce back, but thrive in what we are told will be the ‘new normal.’

“There is still much we do not know about the virus and what this ‘new normal’ will look like. Nevertheless, I believe the creation of an economic recovery task force is critical to ensuring the vitality of our local economy.

“This task force will be made up of local leaders, administration and local business owners, and will serve as a body that will collaborate, learn and work together to ensure the local economy as a whole returns to the vibrant economy it was before the pandemic.

“I am confident that if we bring everyone together in this fashion, we will come back from this stronger than ever,” Russo said.