The tropical storm generated by Hurricane Ida buckled the pavement on two Verona roads and toppled trees into the Peckman. In a special meeting on Thursday night, the Town Council approved $350,000 in emergency funding to repair some of the damage and, thanks to an amended disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Verona may be able to have some of that spending refunded by the federal government.
The Council approved $190,000 to repair and inspect the damaged stretches of Claremont and Afterglow avenues, $75,000 for debris removal, $30,000 for tree removal and $20,000 for extra labor costs. The Council also approved Stanziale Construction to do the street work and the company will start on Claremont this coming week. Several of trees have already been removed from the Peckman near Bloomfield Avenue.
FEMA’s initial Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey included only Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset. After outreach by New Jersey officials, FEMA added Essex, Hudson, Mercer and Union counties. As a result, Verona residents can now apply for the federal government’s help with storm costs. FEMA’s disaster assistance page is here.
“Essex County was one of the hardest hit areas,” Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said in a statement on Friday. “Hurricane Ida, with her unprecedented rainfall and flooding, upended the lives of our families and devastated our local businesses. Becoming eligible for disaster relief is welcome news for those who have been salvaging what they can, working to clean up and preparing to rebuild. I appreciate FEMA sending their team to survey the damage throughout Essex and see the areas affected by the storm. Thank you to Governor Phil Murphy, Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker and our Congressional Representatives, Donald Payne, Jr., Mikie Sherrill, Tom Malinowski and Albio Sires for their strong and vocal advocacy on behalf of Essex.”
For Verona businesses owners, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will launch an online application for its Henri/Ida Business Assistance Grant Program on Friday, September 17, at 9 a.m. NJEDA will process applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The NJEDA program will provide grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to businesses and nonprofits with up to 50 employees.