Private property owners to get flood assistance

Published 2:00 am Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Small Business Administration disaster declaration has been issued in response to flooding in southern Minnesota in September, according to a news release issued Friday by Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s office.

The declaration includes Freeborn, Mower and Steele counties, along with Blue Earth, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Goodhue, Jackson, Martin, Olmsted, Rice, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona counties.

It clears the way for homeowners, renters, business owners and nonprofit organizations to apply for low-interest disaster loans to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets damaged by the disaster, according to the release.

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“During my visits to southern Minnesota in the days following the flood, I saw firsthand the spirit and determination that will help these communities rebuild,” Pawlenty said. “All levels of government are working to ensure that assistance is available for flood victims as quickly as possible.”

The Federal Emergency Management Administration previously declared a federal disaster declaration, which included public assistance for debris removal and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities. It also included federal hazard mitigation grants, but did not include individual assistance.

Under the SBA declaration, loans of up to $200,000 are available for homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property at interest rates as low as 2.5 percent for homeowners, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years.

Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and based on each applicant’s financial condition.

The Legislature will also convene in a special session at 1 p.m. Monday to address the state’s share of flood relief.

During the session, a bill will be presented that includes the state’s share of assistance for the counties affected.

The preliminary damage estimate was $64.1 million, though that figure is expected to increase.

The legislation will also include assistance for areas of the state that were designated a federal disaster area in July as a result of tornadoes and severe storms.