Property owners should report flood damage to municipal officials
By Karl Polacek
Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 6:18 p.m.
Property owners in areas affected by last week's flooding are still cleaning up and looking for help.
Ruth Miller with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency in Harrisburg said there are two different avenues for aid available — Small Business Administration loans and Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.
“In order for businesses (in a flooded area) to apply, there need to be 25 or more businesses and residences damaged with uninsured losses of at least 40 percent,” she said.
For example, if one has $10,000 in damage, then at least $4,000 must be uninsured.
“In order to get an SBA loan, you must prove you are able to pay back the loan,” she said.
The FEMA assistance comes in two types: individual assistance and public assistance. Miller said public assistance would be that given to townships, libraries and fire companies.
For the aid to be given, a federal disaster declaration must be made.
She said preliminary damage assessments are ongoing. Once the preliminary assessments are finished, Miller said, PEMA will take a look at the damage and cost totals.
“If the commonwealth totals exceed $17.4 million, we can request a federal disaster declaration for public assistance. Public assistance is for municipal, county and state governments and entities that provide governmental-type services.”
For example, a municipality could count damage to township property such as roads as bridges and for the cost of using heavy equipment and overtime pay.
“Each county must meet its own threshold to be included in the federal disaster declaration,” she added. “For example, Fayette County's threshold is $471,290.70. It's possible that Fayette County could meet or exceed their county threshold, but if the commonwealth overall doesn't total at least $17.4 million, there is no Public Assistance disaster declaration.”
Miller said there are no thresholds for individual assistance. An individual assistance declaration is based on the level of damage and FEMA's determination of need. If an individual assistance declaration is received, homeowners and renters can get grants of approximately $31,000.
Miller said homeowners with insurance should still report their damages to their local municipality. Those damage figures can be added together with the uninsured damages for the county and state totals. For example, anyone with damage in Dunbar should report the damage totals to Dunbar Borough, she said. Reporting the damage might help their neighbors get federal aid, Miller said.
If the strong storms forecast for today cause more flooding, that damage generally would be considered as separate events, according to Miller. The National Weather Service would determine if they are separate or related.
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh has issued a flash flood watch that is in effect through late Wednesday.
The National Weather Service said that the additional heavy rain from the scattered showers and thunderstorms could cause localized flash flooding of creeks and streams.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Geibel musical director enjoys ‘group of very talented dancers’
- Geibel 3-sport star enjoys tapping onstage
- Addison gemologist has keen eye for ‘wearable art’
- Jury selection ends in trial for Fayette County boy’s beating death
- Southmoreland seniors to don caps and gowns June 4
- W.Va. woman in high-speed Fayette chase sentenced to 7 to 14 years
- Former public defender sues Fayette County officials over firing
- Fayette County residents sue over landfill fumes
- Rural King Supply confirms store opening in Dunbar Township
- Bullskin, Connellsville youngsters ‘paying it forward’
- Masontown man sentenced in crash