The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

 
 

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Small window closing for snow funds

State and federal aid may be available to businesses and residents with snow damage

 


A new kind of snow crisis has been unfolding in Valdez the past week after the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) – under its own authority - declared the areas of Alaska affected by the December and January snow storms a disaster. The move came after a request was made by Gov. Sean Parnell on March 8. On Tuesday, March 13, the SBA announced it would open two Disaster Loan Outreach Centers, one in Valdez, the other in Cordova, to meet face-to-face with people and businesses that were adversely affected by the record-breaking snows.

According to Sheri Pierce, Valdez city clerk, the clock is ticking for business owners and the public at large who may be in need of financial assistance in the aftermath.

This is due to the fact the State of Alaska is planning an individual assistance program to help private citizens and businesses in need of financial assistance, but there is a hitch. In order to be eligible for state aid, applicants must first apply to the SBA for an emergency loan. Only applicants rejected by the SBA will be eligible for state aid. To add to the urgency, the state has imposed a March 30 deadline for the City of Valdez to collect damage assessments from citizens and businesses.

The city is collecting information from citizens with a damage assessment form applicants need to fill out in addition to the application to the SBA.

You do not have to be a business owner to apply for the SBA loans according to Tanjie Smith, the SBA field specialist who opened the outreach office in Valdez last Wednesday. Homeowners and renters may be eligible for low interest loans to repair snow load damages she said.

The outreach office opened in Valdez is located downstairs at the Valdez Consortium Library, but it closes for good Wednesday, March 21. However, applicants can still apply for loan assistance after the office closes. The forms and applications needed to apply are available at the SBA website or by calling its customer service center.

To make the process a little more confusing, applications for SBA loans to repair property damage does not close until May 14, 2012, but applicants still must apply to the SBA before March 30 to qualify for state aid if they are denied a federal SBA loan.

“Definitely apply before that deadline,” Smith said from her temporary quarters at the library.

The deadline to apply for economic injury loans to businesses is December 13, 2012.

Valdez Star photo

Tanjie Smith, field operation specialist with the Small Business Administration, explains the initial procedure needed to apply for a disaster assistance loan. Smith opened a temporary outreach office at the library, which will be open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 21.

“Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” the SBA said in a press release. “Businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.”

SBA can also lend additional funds to both homeowners and businesses to make improvements that will “protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage,” in the future the SBA said.

Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA, based on individual financial conditions.

Pierce said the city is encouraging both business and private citizens to apply for both SBA and state assistance before March 30.

Additional information can be found by visiting or calling city hall or by accessing the city’s website Pierce said.

 

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