It reads as if E. Michael Taylor, Essex’s director of housing and community development found a stash of cash under the county mattress. Yesterday, Taylor handed out checks to Essex municipalities and non-profits from “a decades-old federal community development block grant” package. Checks ranging from $4,000 to $1.6 million were passed out, mainly for road improvements, senior and handicapped services, municipal face lifts – and Baristaville was one of the big winners, according to The Star Ledger. Taylor then made a surprise announcement – that an extra $4 million in federal stimulus funds was on its way to Essex.
For one, Alastair Bate, sporting the uniform of a major at the Salvation Army’s Montclair Citadel, came to pick up a ESG [Emergency Shelter Grant] check to help keep a roof over the head of the homeless — one of seven such grants totaling $269,207 for emergency shelters.
The $29,000 will support men, women and families who frequent the 21-bed Cornerstone House for overnight stays to remain beyond the typical 3 months. “In this economy, it’s very difficult to leave in 90 days,” said his business manager, Michele Kroeze.
When an official from Essex County Public Works Department picked up a large, mock check for $1.65 million, Kathryn Weller, a Montclair councilor-at-large, was pleased.
“Grove Street (Montclair) is on the list. This summer,” she said of a repaving project on that main county road.
Kathy Rempusheski, assistant to Nutley Mayor Joanne Cocchiola, was there to collect $98,000 to buy a senior-citizen bus and $115,400 for facade improvements — the biggest such award.