NC Seeks (More) Disaster Declaration After Flooding

RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory has asked the U.S. Small Business Administration to declare seven North Carolina counties stricken by recent flooding as disaster areas.

If approved, the federal declaration McCrory sought Friday will qualify flooding victims eligible for low-interest government loans to repair or replace damaged homes or businesses.

Up to a foot of rain fell within a few hours in portions of Catawba and Lincoln counties on July 27, causing numerous low-lying areas to flood for the second or third time in the past two months. Residents in neighboring Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Iredell, Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties were also affected by high water.

State officials said initial reports indicate approximately 600 homes and businesses in CatawbaCounty were impacted. Of those, 30 were destroyed or had major damage.

Small Business Administration Approves Flood Repair Loans

ORANGE COUNTY – After reviewing the damage to our local area, the Small Business Administration has approved Orange County’s disaster declaration.

This declaration gives county residents the ability to request small interest rate loans from the SBA to rebuild their communities. Loans can go up to $200,000 for damaged or destroyed structures and up to $40,000 for damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses and small businesses can borrow up to $2 million for physical damage.

Residents in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham and Person counties can also apply for the loans.

For residents who do not qualify for an SBA loan, there are still state loans available for post-flood repairs.

The SBA’s loan center will be open on Friday, July 19 at noon at University Mall on S. Estes Drive. It will be open from noon to 6 p.m. that Friday, then 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Monday through Thursday times are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The center is not open on Sunday and it will not be open on Thursday, July 25.

Officials Push For Loans In Flood Review

CHAPEL HILL – With the Small Business Administration and other state and county agencies conducting their review of flood damage in the area, local officials are offering updates on the community after the flood.

Emergency management coordinator for Orange County, Darshan Patal, says the majority of the flood damage appears to have affected Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and the efforts of emergency workers are beginning to transition.

“This has really now transitioned to a recovery effort where DFF, housing and a couple of other county agencies are working to make sure short-term and long-term housing options are taken care of,” Patal says.

Chapel Hill town manager, Roger Stancil, says the flood damage to Town Hall will take about four months to fix.

“We’ve got to totally start over again,” Stancil says. “We need to think about the space and we need to move some of our technology to a different location and then redo the space.”

In its review, the SBA pushed for a disaster declaration for Orange County. According to Patal, that declaration would allow residents and small business owners to receive low-interest loans to help rebuild.

“The governor has since signed that declaration and sent it to the SBA for final approval,” Patel says. “As soon as we get the final approval, we will get the SBA into our assistance center at University Mall to allow individuals to come in, consult with them, do applications and everything they need to do to get the assistance they need from the SBA.”

While Stancil says there is no estimate for how much the clean-up to the town will cost, he says there are a few ways that Chapel Hill can find enough money in its budget to pay for the clean-up.

“One of the reasons that the town has a fund balance is it’s our savings account for natural disasters,” Stancil says. “That’s why we keep it at a healthy level so we can recover from such disasters.”

Stancil says that Chapel Hill is keeping records of the damages in the event that it can get reimbursements from state or federal agencies. He says this also extends to the potential lack of money the town is getting since waving fees for certain types of clean-up and construction on property.

“Depending again on the level of declarations from the state and federal government, there may be some potential for getting those fee waivers reimbursed to the town,” Stancil says.

An estimated 141 residents were displaced by the June 30 flood, and Orange County and municipal officials continue to monitor river levels as more rains and storms are expected.