West Orange, NJ to stop paying for ousted tenants’ hotels in December
WEST ORANGE — Residents of an apartment complex, evacuated after an assessment of a rockslide caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida showed the structure was unsafe, will not receive further coverage of hotel bills from the township after Dec. 4, according to a letter from the mayor.
NJ.com reported that Mayor Robert Parisi wrote that the township has "limited resources." He called the decision to put a deadline on the financial assistance "bittersweet," but township finance director John Gross said during a council meeting last Tuesday that the mayor's Sunshine Fund was "depleted very early in the process."
The NJ.com report said that the township will continue to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on helping residents both monetarily, and in their search for new housing.
Gross said that following the depletion of the Sunshine Fund, the township has spent $200,000 in surplus funds paid by taxpayers, according to the NJ.com report, and warned that figure could still wind up doubling.
Lawyer Thomas Cataldo, who is representing some of the affected residents, told NJ.com that they "didn't cause the situation," and that negligence on the part of the township was to blame for the current crunch.
The Sept. 1 storm toppled a tree at the apartment complex, which triggered the rock slide. But it was not until mid-October that a report from an engineering firm resulted in action from the township.
About 45 families have been displaced. The apartments will be demolished.