Florence aid available

Published 10:24 am Monday, October 29, 2018

WINDSOR – Bertie County has joined 43 other counties in North Carolina that were added to President Donald Trump’s disaster declaration of public assistance for private non-profit (PNP) organizations resulting from damages caused by Hurricane Florence. The designation comes in an announcement made earlier this week by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“While Bertie County is grateful for this designation, the county continues to seek grant assistance and federal reimbursement for emergency protective measures for expenditures incurred in preparation for the hurricane’s arrival given the early forecasts of imminent danger that we would experience high winds and severe water surge estimates,” said Bertie County Manager Scott Sauer.

Examples of eligible non-critical PNP organizations include, but are not limited to: food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges. Certain other organizations that do not provide critical services of a governmental nature may be eligible to apply for low-interest rate disaster loans.

Loans up to $2 million are available at an interest rate of 2.5 percent for 30 years. PNP organizations may borrow the money to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

“The Board of Commissioners is committed to emergency planning and advance preparations to protect the lives and property of all county residents,” said Bertie County Commissioners chair Ernestine Bazemore. “We were very fortunate to miss the most devastating impact from Hurricane Florence, but we will never let our guard down when the storm forecasts point toward the coastal areas of North Carolina.”

PNP applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may now include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

The SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster loans to help meet working capital needs, such as ongoing operating expenses to PNP organizations. This assistance is available regardless of whether the organization suffered any physical property damage or not.

PNP organizations are urged to contact their County’s Emergency Management Office for information about their organization. The information will be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to determine eligibility for a public assistance grant or whether the PNP should be referred to SBA for disaster loan assistance.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage is Dec. 11, 2018, while the deadline to submit economic injury applications is July 15, 2019.