Feds expand flood damage help to homes and businesses | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Feds expand flood damage help to homes and businesses

After weeks of storm damage surveys, the federal government has opened a funding pipeline for homes and businesses in El Dorado County damaged in the New Year’s floods.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency expanded the relief declaration for the county on Thursday. Before that, the designation was reserved for government and nonprofit agencies in the county – which has estimated the storm damage for the period from Dec. 17 to Jan. 3 at $9 million. Half of the amount is in damage to county roads – especially Mosquito Road – on the county’s West Slope. The other half was sustained by the private sector.

“I’m glad to see those possibilities for flood-damaged areas,” 5th-District Supervisor Norma Santiago said.

During the storms, a few feet of water collected in areas from the Tahoe Keys to the Bijou area.

Property owners can make claims by going online to http://www.fema.gov or calling (800) 621-FEMA. The disaster relief money – which has no cap – picks up where insurance claims leave off.

FEMA home inspectors will examine at no charge structural damage to homes, appliances and other items damaged by the storm.

“We recommend people make the case. If they say no, then what’s the loss?” said Marty Hackett, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Services. Hackett met with FEMA officials Monday to coordinate a disaster assistance center where people could inquire or file for relief.

When the New Year’s storms flooded 40 rooms at Super 8 Motel, Pradip Patel filed an insurance claim for money to replace Sheetrock and bedding.

“We just finished replacing the carpet last Friday,” he said Monday, as stormwater formed large puddles behind his motel from Monday’s storm.

Residents and businesses are also urged to apply with the U.S. Small Business Administration for low-interest loans to recover either property damage or economic losses.

Homeowners may receive up to $200,000 at a 2.687 interest rate for structural property damage and $40,000 for damage to personal property. SBA will loan up to $1.5 million at a 4 percent rate for businesses that provide a case of economic injury.

Brent Springbett of Tahoe Bike Shop said he’d be interested in filing such a claim. The power was out in his business for three days beginning Dec. 31.

“It was a holiday. I probably lost about $10,000 in business,” Springbett said.

As far as the public sector, the city made a claim for about $14,000 in staffing reimbursements. Over the holiday, public safety and public works employees worked longer hours and more of them were out on the streets, Fire Chief Lorenzo Gigliotti said.

Thirteen California counties were declared disaster areas during the New Year’s storms that many compare on some level to the 1997 floods.

“We remain as committed to ensuring that every qualified family and business receives the help they need and that vital community facilities are restored to full service as quickly as possible,” said Tom Davies, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer.

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