Haslam Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration for 13 Counties

Friday, March 18, 2011 | 11:28am

Small Business Administration loan program sought for Knox County

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has asked President Obama to declare 13 East and Middle Tennessee counties eligible for the federal public assistance programs for local governments following the storms and flooding that began Feb. 28, 2011. 

The counties include:  Fentress, Franklin, Grainger, Hamilton, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Moore, Morgan, Pickett, Scott and Union. A request for disaster loan assistance for individuals and small businesses in Knox County, and the contiguous counties of Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Loudon, Roane, Sevier and Union, has been sent to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“I want to thank local governments for working with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to quickly complete the preliminary damage assessments necessary for these requests,” said  Haslam. “The assistance that FEMA and the SBA can provide will be very welcome as communities work towards full recovery.”

As a result of the flooding and storm damage, preliminary damage assessments estimate that approximately $9.6 million of costs that are eligible for federal assistance under the Stafford Act have or will be incurred by state and local governments and public utilities.
Public Assistance

The federal Public Assistance Program authorizes a number of benefits for state and local governments and public utilities to reclaim expenses relating to debris removal, overtime and property damages for civic buildings.

Local and state agencies expended considerable resources responding to the emergency, restoring public infrastructure and removing debris. The federal program will provide reimbursement for 75 percent of the eligible costs incurred by local or state government. Utilities are also eligible for 75 percent reimbursement, but must pay the matching 25 percent themselves.
Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in an SBA declared disaster.

In order to request a SBA designation for a county, the state must first be sure the affected county will not qualify for other federal assistance.

TEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Knox County officials this week determined that Knox County would not qualify for other federal disaster assistance programs based on a formal assessment of the damages.

For more information on FEMA’s public assistance program, go to www.fema.gov/government/grant/pa/index.shtm.

For more information on the SBA’s disaster loan program, go to www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/small-business-loans/disaster-loans.