Yates County qualifies for federal loans for flood relief

Julie Sherwood

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Friday that Yates County has qualified for its homeowners, renters, and businesses to be eligible for special low-interest disaster loans. The loans will be from the federal Small Business Administration.

In a release the senators stated they are pushing for the SBA to approve New York state’s eventual application for the loans.

SBA officials were on-site in Yates county to conduct a damage assessment survey that confirmed that Yates met the damage threshold for an SBA administrative declaration. Specifically, since the recent rainfall and subsequent flooding caused physical damage to 25 homes or business structures in excess of 40 percent of the uninsured value, the state can apply to the SBA for an SBA Disaster Declaration. Once the state applies, if approved, SBA will then offer low-interest loans to renters, homeowners, and businesses to make repairs, replace household items, or clean up debris in the designated counties, as well as any contiguous counties, the senators stated.

The Finger Lakes Economic Development Center Chief Executive Officer Steve Griffin said his initial estimate for damaged businesses is at least $50 million, adding that damage estimates from “just a handful of those businesses,” could total more than $3 million, according to the release.

If an SBA declaration is requested and approved, the SBA can provide qualified recipients with low interest loans up to $40,000 to renters and homeowners to replace personal property, $200,000 to homeowners to repair, replace, or clean up damaged homes, and up to $2 million to business owners to repair damaged businesses. Interest rates are set quarterly but currently can be as low as 2.188 percent for homeowners and as low as 4 percent for businesses. Camp Good Days, a popular summer camp on Keuka Lake, for example, suffered a reported $250,000 worth of damage and an SBA loan would help the camp cover the immediate cleanup costs.

Camp Good Days is hoping to clean up the damage before the camp is scheduled to open this summer, the senators stated.