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SBA Loans for Manchester And Lakehurst Businesses, Even if They Didn't Flood

If your business lost revenue because of Hurricane Sandy, apply for an SBA Loan

Did your business in Manchester, Lakehurst or elswhere in the Jersey Shore region lose revenue because of Superstorm Sandy?

If so, you should apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, even if your business was not physically damaged or flooded by the storm, according to an SBA official who addressed a crowd of 450 to 500 people in Point Pleasant Beach recently.

Those businesses may be eligible for "Economic Injury Loans," Garth MacDonald, an SBA public affairs specialist, said to an overflow crowd at G. Harold Antrim Elementary School.

And any owner of a business, home or car that was flooded or damaged physically should also apply for the low-interest loans, MacDonald said.

He said there are loans available for up to $2 million for businesses, $200,000 to repair or replace homes and another $40,000 for personal property loss. For more information about SBA loans, see the SBA website. To listen to an audio seminar about SBA loans and other important information for businesses, click here

Not Enough FEMA to Go Around

Following the presentations in the main auditorium by officials from SBA and FEMA, there were small group sessions in classrooms and other rooms in the school designed to help residents get one-on-one attention and answers.

There were some residents at the crowded forum who complained that FEMA had brought along with them only two laptop computers to use for one-on-one conversations with residents who wanted to know what their Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) is, if they need to elevate their homes, by how much, why and how it will affect their flood insurance rates in the future. That led to long waits for some residents and a lack of answers for others. (Some information is also available on the Region 2 FEMA website.)

FEMA Official Talks About Financial Assistance

Bill McDonnell, FEMA Deputy Mitigation Grant Director, told the crowd that because he lives in Brick, he understands the type of devastation that residents have suffered.

McDonnell said that residents may qualify for $30,000 to help pay for elevating and renovating flooded homes.

The FEMA website states: "If your property is insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you may qualify for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. 

"Policyholders in high-risk areas can receive up to $30,000 to help pay the costs of bringing their home into compliance with their community's flood plain ordinance. You can only file an ICC claim if your community determines that your home has been substantially or repetitively damaged by a flood. 

"This determination is made when you apply for a building permit to begin repairing your home. Substantial damage generally means that repairs will cost 50 percent or more of the building’s pre-damage market value. More information on ICC coverage is available through FEMA’s ICC web page. You may also call your insurance company or agent or the NFIP toll-free number at 1 800-427-4661 for assistance."

Any resident or property owner considering applying for ICC funds should first find out from their local officials if they will be committed to elevating their flooded homes even if they ultimately do not receive the funding.

Prior to the meeting, when McDonnell was told that many residents have found that $30,000 is not enough to elevate, he said that the state will be disbursing $1.8 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) just released by Congress last week that may help offset more of the cost.

There are also Hazard Mitigation Grants that may be available. Applicants need to apply through their towns. For information about the program in Point Borough, click here. For information about the program in Point Beach, click here.

How did FEMA do those flood maps?

McDonnell said FEMA's New Jersey officials had been working on a revision of FEMA flood maps long before Sandy ever hit the Jersey Shore. The process, which takes three to five years, involves "a lot of engineering, science and field work," he said.

"We were about three years into when Sandy hit," he said. "We felt we had enough data to provide to residents. There is usually an 18 to 24 month review proces. But we didn't want to wait until then (to release the maps publicly)."

So FEMA released the Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps in December.

"The question always comes up, 'How sure are you that they are accurate?' " McDonnell said. "Maybe certain zones will shrink a bit. But there is no guarantee. We think the maps are pretty much right on.

"There will be time for local officials to review and appeal, but only if there is better science," he said.

He said the federal Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which was passed in July, 2012, phases out insurance subsidies and a grandfather clause that would have allowed former flood insurance rates to still apply.

How to Appeal Your Flood Zone

Patricia Brach, FEMA, External Affairs Mitigation Liaison, provided the following emailed response when Patch asked how property owners can appeal the flood zone they are now in according to the current ABFEs. Brach explained that appeals cannot be filed until the maps, now only "advisory," become "preliminary" which may happen in August or September.

Brach wrote: "Individuals or groups of individuals and communities may appeal during the 90 days following the release of Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps. The appeal must be based on scientific or technical data that would be more better than what FEMA has determined. The Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps are expected to be released later this summer. Individuals should contact their local officials. They can begin gathering information now.

The following is a summary of the process to appeal new NFIP Maps. For more detailed information, please view FEMA's Appeals, Revisions, and Amendments to National Flood Insurance Program Maps: A Guide for Community Officials.

  • If applicable, FEMA sends a certified return receipt letter to the chief executive official (CEO) of a community informing the community of the new base flood elevations and information about the appeal process. FEMA then publishes two notices of the proposed base flood elevation determination in local area newspaper(s) and in the Federal Register. The 90-day appeal period begins after the 2nd notice is published.
  • An appeal must include scientific or technical data that tend to negate or contradict the proposed flood elevation findings.
  • Appeals by citizens shall be submitted to the CEO of the community for review and determination if the scientific or technical grounds for an appeal warrants forwarding the appeal to FEMA.
  • Any and all appeals by citizens or the community received within 90 days must be resolved, before the next step.
  • The FEMA Administrator shall resolve such appeals by consultation with local officials, or by administrative hearings, or by submission of the contradictory data to an independent scientific body or appropriate Federal agency.
  • After 90 days and after all appeals are resolved, FEMA will issue a Letter of Final Determination.
  • Within 60 days of a Final Determination, an appeal may be filed with the US District Court."

For more information about FEMA, see the Region 2 FEMA website, which has a Hurricane Sandy tab that enables visitors to check their Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) and use an ABFE "toolkit" for property owners.

Residents and business owners can also visit the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, 270 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick, where they can talk to officials from FEMA, SBA and other agencies. McDonald said the center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

foggyworld February 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Just where the hell is our Governor? Why is he letting people from federal offices run this State into the ground? This is insane because taxpayer money is once again being completely wasted while so many people who were demolished by Sandy are getting deeper and deeper into financial trouble which he seems to be encouraging. Sure, go ahead and built and he will see us later. I want to know why Governor Christie thinks we should vote for him for another term of this mess but I can't send him an email because if I do I am limIted to HIS choice of blah sort of topics which his computer farms out to department heads. If he doesn't plan to finish this first term by actually helping the people who are in crying pain, there is no reason to vote for four more years of his abdicating all of his powers to the likes of Fema and the SBA. Whoever did his polling and found he had a 74% favorable rate, didn't bother to try to get in touch with the thousands of displaced and trapped people in this State. Monmouth and Ocean counties put him over the top when he ran the first time and based on this and the Bay cleanup waste of money and so many other indications that he is not managing things at all, he better not count on a repeat election result coming from folks down here. Can someone, just someone find our missing Governor and remind him HE is being paid to to a job - not to campaign.
Scott Neuman February 23, 2013 at 03:00 PM
The 74% poll was a GOP based poll. It leans GOP. More importantly, lets ask why we'd re-elect a guy that can't bring business to NJ on a scale necessary to lower unemployment. I hate excuses. He wanted to be the Governor, lets start bringing businesses into the state and keep the ones we have. We should be doing what we need to do to make that happen. At 13% unemployement, I'm sure the state voters would appreciate the ability to bring some more money home. Scott Neuman - An Independent Voice
John E February 24, 2013 at 06:20 PM
He's not running the state, he's running around the country to see if its a good idea to run for president in 2016. When we see the carpenters making the doors wider at the White House..that's the hint he might run.

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