Rep. Smith Pushes Relief Efforts For Red Bank Nonprofits

RED BANK — There are encouraging signs for Red Bank nonprofits —especially the Count Basie Center for the Arts and the Red Bank Fire Department (RBFD) — as they look for assistance from the federal government during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said Rep. Chris Smith (R-4).

The Basie is among those who qualify for the federal relief program recently funded by the Save Our Stages Act — legislation that Smith co-sponsored and strongly supported. Signed into law late last year, the Save Our Stages Act will financially assist entertainment venues while the pandemic restricts capacity and live events.

“The arts and entertainment industry has been hit hard by this pandemic, and while we are starting to see promising signs for the future, it is essential that we do more to support this critically important community,” said Congressman Smith.

The Basie is prepping its application for the $10 billion grant program that will be run by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the theatre will be eligible for up to 45 percent of 2019 operating costs or $12 million for expenses incurred during the pandemic.

While in Red Bank, Smith met with Count Basie Center for the Arts President and CEO Adam Philipson, whose organization is grateful for the congressman’s support and anxious for the pending relief.
Other legislation strongly backed by Smith — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — expanded federal funding for local fire departments and other first responders on the frontlines during the pandemic. The Red Bank Fire Department tapped into the program and will use the Smith-supported federal dollars to help purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for the 100 volunteer firefighters who serve the borough.

“This modest, but targeted grant will help pay for the PPE that Red Bank’s first responders need for every call they make,” Smith said. “Providing our firefighters with protective gear minimizes exposure for themselves and those in distress and enables them to continue serving the community in the safest way possible during the pandemic,” he added.