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Westwood Spending $2 Million on Flood Buyouts

The Westwood Council approved the funding during their meeting this week. The money was supplied by FEMA and the DEP.

As many as nine flood-prone homes in Westwood may be knocked down.

The Westwood Council approved an ordinance appropriating more than $2 million to buy and demolish homes that have repeatedly been damaged by flooding during their meeting Tuesday.

"Hopefully some people will be able to put their lives back together," Mayor John Birkner said.

How many of the nine homes will actually purchased is still undecided. During their meeting, the council awarded a contract to Miller, Rinaldi & Co. to appraise the homes at a cost of $350 per property and $175 per hour if any additional work is required. The borough received a total of five bids for the project.

Once the appraisals are done, officials will determine how many of the homes they can purchase with the money. FEMA representatives will be meeting with the homeowners next week to discuss what happens next and answer their questions.

Westwood received a total of $2,068,057, including about $1.5 million from FEMA's flood mitigation program and another approximately $500,000 from the Department of Environmental Protection's Green Acres program for the buyouts.

FEMA set aside $21 million for flood mitigation purchases in New Jersey after Hurricane Irene caused major flooding last year. The state added another $7 million for the project.

Flooding has been a major issue lately in the borough and around the area. Borough Engineer Stephen Boswell previously said the Pascack Brook . Before that, the brook reached flood stage four times between 2000 and 2010 and four times between 1935 and 1999.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Leggate at JMLeggate@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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