Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson highlighted the county’s actions to help residents and businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic this year as part of her keynote address at the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the County event.
Held at The Madison in Riverside, the event on Oct. 25 featured Hopson’s address, as well as updates from State Sen. Troy Singleton, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Commander Colonel Wes Adams, Mount Laurel Mayor Stephen Steglik and Lumberton Mayor Gina LaPlaca, according to information provided by the county.
“Local businesses are the foundation of our community. Without a strong business base, we would not be one of the best locations to live, work and raise a family,” Hopson said, according to the statement. “We have always supported our economic partners, but COVID-19 required us to do more. And we did.”
Among the actions cited by the director was the County’s move to create and distribute of zero-interest HELP loans to local businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The commissioners organized Burlington County’s largest Restaurant Week ever and they revived the Shop Burlington County First initiative promoting local businesses on the County’s social media pages, Hopson said in the statement.
A new online Business Portal was also launched on the county’s website to serve as a one-stop destination for businesses to find information about assistance programs, regulations, promotions and even finding employees.
Hopson also highlighted recovery programs for individuals and families, including the county’s monthly food distributions, its rapid rehousing program to assist the homeless and its emergency rental and mortgage aid programs.
More than $13.6 million in rental assistance has been distributed to nearly 1,700 Burlington County households so far and the County has also assisted 82 homeless households this year through the rapid rehousing program, according to the statement.
Hopson also pointed to the Commissioners’ decision to keep county taxes flat in 2021 and the county’s investments in parks, trails and farmland preservation as key actions to assist both residents and businesses.
“These are investments in our county’s health and environment. And it’s no accident that Burlington County landed on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 500 healthiest places to live in the nation,” she said in the statement. “But parks and trails aren’t just an investment in health. They also benefit the economy and help draw more people to our county.”