The Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Alachua County's request for a disaster declaration in the wake of Tropical Storm Elsa, action will also benefit any adjacent county.
“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets," SBA’s North Florida District Director J. Malcolm Richards said in a Friday statement.
The declaration allows homeowners and renters to access up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, according to SBA. It also allows up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.
David Peaton, assistant director of Levy County Emergency Management was happy to hear the news that Levy County residents would benefit from Alachua County's efforts to secure the disaster status.
"We ended up with almost no issues," Peaton said about the effects of Tropical Storm Elsa. "Having said that, when Alachua County gets an SBA declaration, Levy, Gilchrist, Union, Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Putnam and Union counties benefit."
Meteorologists had predicted Tropical Storm Elsa would make landfall in Cedar Key, but it took a northern turn and spared Levy County a lot of damage, according to Peaton.
"We had some homes where trees fell on houses," he said. "But we came out of it unscathed, nothing more than what you'd see in a bad thunderstorm."
Peaton said homeowners, businesses and renters can now apply for low-interest loans to cover costs of damages not covered by insurance.
According to the SBA statement, "Interest rates are as low as 2.880 percent for businesses, 2 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.625 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition."
The filing deadline for applications for physical property damage is Sept. 20, 2021 and the deadline to return economic injury applications is April 22, 2022.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at
Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster.
Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.