By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Andrew Bulakowski entered Sea Isle City’s Council Chambers on Tuesday carrying a big check – both for its physical size and the amount of money that it represented.
Bulakowski, a Cape May County commissioner, presented the ceremonial $400,000 check to Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio and members of City Council as part of a federal economic stimulus program that is benefiting communities nationwide.
Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act totaled $6.4 million for Cape May County’s 16 municipalities – or $400,000 each.
Under the funding guidelines, the grants are to be used for drinking water, storm water and sanitary sewer infrastructure projects.
In Sea Isle’s case, the city is using its $400,000 grant to pay for about half of a nearly $900,000 sanitary sewer project on Sounds Avenue between 56th Street and 59th Street.
Bulakowski said the funding will help municipalities pay for the same types of projects that the county is undertaking to improve the quality of life for local residents and visitors.
“Working as one, working together, we all stand stronger,” Bulakowski said during the check presentation ceremony.
Desiderio, who also serves as the newly appointed director of the Cape May County Board of Commissioners, has been making the rounds in May to hand out $400,000 checks to other Cape May County communities. He let Bulakowski handle the check presentation for Sea Isle.
“Coming in as the new director, it was a goal of mine to establish closer relationships with each of the municipalities of the county, which encouraged me to implement quarterly Mayors Roundtables with the mayors to discuss shared issues in our local communities. The first Mayors Roundtable included the announcement of this first of its kind grant opportunity for the county, touching each of our 16 municipalities at once,” Desiderio said in a statement.
He added, “I am grateful for the support of my colleagues on the Board of Commissioners that understand the critical needs of each of our towns to make storm sewer, sanitary sewer and drinking water improvements for the health and safety of our residents.”
The American Rescue Plan Act is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021 to help speed up the nation’s recovery from the financial and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Desiderio, in his role as County Commission director, has already visited most of the county’s municipalities to present them with their $400,000 checks. He is scheduled to visit Ocean City during Thursday night’s City Council meeting.
“Working together for the betterment of our residents and visitors enhances the quality of life in Cape May County, and that is a good feeling. I look forward to visiting the rest of our towns and presenting them with their grant award,” he said in his statement.