Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Governor Receives Notice of Delaware Disaster Declarations

Federal assistance available for some businesses and homeowners affected by 
Hurricane Irene as well as farmers affected by drought
In response to requests from the Governor, the Obama Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture have separately approved disaster declarations that bring assistance to Delawareans from damages incurred in the wake of Hurricane Irene and from drought conditions over the entire summer that affected Delaware’s agricultural community. The Small Business Administration will open offices in Delaware tomorrow to begin to take filings for low-interest loans from those affected by the hurricane. Farmers experiencing crop losses can immediately begin contacting the Delaware Office of the USDA Farm Service Agency.
“Across the state, Delawareans acted quickly to prepare for the hurricane and worked together to pick up the pieces afterward,” said the Governor. “For those who incurred property damage, getting financial help with recovery is important to getting homes and businesses back to normal,” said the Governor. “For many weeks prior to the hurricane, our farmers were suffering drought conditions that significantly affected crops and livestock. This designation will bring much-needed federal funds to some of our hard working farmers.”
Hurricane Irene Assistance
The Obama administration has approved Delaware for additional federal assistance in response to damages and expenses incurred from Hurricane Irene The Small Business Administration approved New Castle and Kent counties for low interest disaster loans for eligible applicants. The low interest disaster loan program applies to residents and businesses affected by significant rainfall and flooding from Hurricane Irene from Aug. 27 – 28.
Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aqua cultural, and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
Interest rates are as low as 2.5 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
SBA’s customer service representatives will be on hand at the Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the process, issue and help individuals complete their applications.
Small Business Administration centers will open Tuesday, October 4 in the following locations:
New Castle County James H. Gilliam Building
77 Reads Way
New Castle Corporate Commons
New Castle, DE 19720
Opens: Tues., Oct. 4, at 8:30 a.m.
Hours: Tues., Oct. 4 – Thur., Oct. 13
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Closed: Sunday, Oct. 9, Monday, Oct. 10
Closing: Thur., Oct. 13 at the close of business
County Emergency Services Building
911 Public Safety Boulevard
Dover, DE 19901
Opens: Thur., Oct. 6, at 8:30 a.m.
Hours: Thur., Oct. 6 – Thur., Oct. 13
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Saturday, Oct 8, 2011
9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Closed: Sunday, Oct. 9, Monday, Oct. 10
Closing: Thur., Oct. 13 at the close of business
Individuals and businesses unable to visit one of the centers may obtain information on loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA website at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to one of the Center or mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Also related to Hurricane Irene, the President approved the Governor’s Disaster Declaration request for assistance for municipalities, some government agencies and private nonprofits eligible for reimbursement for additional categories of emergency work and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. Delaware Emergency Management Agency and FEMA representatives are working with affected municipalities and non-profits.
DroughtUSDA Secretary Tom Vilsack notified the Governor’s Office that he is designating the Kent and Sussex Counties in the State of Delaware as primary natural disaster areas “due to drought and related conditions that occurred in the 2011 crop year.” New Castle County, Delaware is also named as a contiguous disaster county because it is adjacent to a primary county.
According to Vilsack’s letter, “A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provide eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available, and repayment ability. SURE Program applications for 2011 crop losses will be accepted in 2012, when the 2011 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available.”
A reports by Robin Talley, Acting State Executive Director of the Delaware Emergency Planning Board of the Farm Services Agency that an estimated 1045 farmers on 2202 farms in Kent and Sussex Counties sustained losses in excess of 30% of their expected production of their crops.
On September 9, 2011, the Governor formally requested that USDA Secretary Vilsack declare a drought disaster declaration for Delaware due to drought and excessive heat conditions occurring over theJune-August 2011 period. He based his request on Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee’s recommendation and on the severity and duration of drought conditions and their impact, including assessments of crop and livestock losses.
Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee said, “I want to thank Robin Talley, her staff at the FSA State Office, and the County Emergency Boards for all of their hard work and assistance in compiling the necessary data to make this disaster declaration happen.”
Farmers experiencing crop losses should contact or call the Delaware Office of the USDA Farm Service Agency, 1221 College Park Drive, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19904 or (302) 678-4250.
New Jersey Disaster
In a separate declaration, SBA has said that small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in New Castle County are eligible for federal economic injury disaster loans due to a disaster declared for New Jersey as a result of excessive rain, excessive heat, flooding, high winds and hail that began on May 14, 2011. New Castle County qualified for this assistance as a contiguous county to the disaster area. Further information on this assistance is also available by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing).

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