FEMA, SBA extend disaster loan deadlineBy JAMES T. MADORE
December 12, 2012
The deadline for small businesses to apply for disaster loans related to superstorm Sandy has been extended to Jan. 28, a Federal Emergency Management Agency official said Tuesday.
FEMA spokesman Ed Conley confirmed to Newsday the prior deadline of Dec. 31 was pushed back by his agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration, which runs the disaster loan program for FEMA.
The move affects Long Island, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.
Last week, members of the metropolitan region's congressional delegation called on FEMA to give companies until May 1 to apply for aid.
Speaking of the new Jan. 28 cutoff, Conley said Tuesday, "The extension is for homeowners and renters registering for FEMA disaster-assistance grants and for homeowners, renters and businesses applying for SBA low-interest recovery loans."
The application deadline for small businesses was unclear Monday night, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a deadline extension for individuals and families.
Small-business owners usually have 60 days after a natural disaster to apply for low-interest loans to make repairs, purchase merchandise and pay for other work necessary to reopen. Interest rates can be as low as 1.688 percent per year, and the term can be as long as 30 years.
Told of the deadline change, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) said, "FEMA and the SBA deserve credit for showing flexibility . . . While it's not as much time as we wanted, I'm glad the agencies are listening to our requests."
McCarthy and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) joined seven other House members in a Dec. 7 letter to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate requesting a deadline extension to May 1. King said Tuesday, "I appreciate that FEMA listened to our concerns and provided a truly fair deadline for small businesses to accurately assess their damage and continue to rebuild."
Separately, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Tuesday called for federal grants to help businesses recover from Sandy, which struck Oct. 29.
He told the Long Island Business Council, a lobbying group, that some companies are saddled with debt after borrowing due to Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.
"We are hearing from some businesses that they cannot afford another loan," Mangano told about 60 council members at Molloy College's satellite campus in East Farmingdale.
The grants would come from $4 billion in federal money sought by Nassau County as part of a $60.4-billion request made by President Barack Obama to Congress. If approved, county businesses would see about $500 million.
Julie Marchesella, president of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce and owner of a Merrick-based formalwear store for plus-size women, said, "It's time for government to step up, because many people are struggling."