County asks for flood damage information to seek federal aid

Baltimore County officials are seeking information from businesses, homeowners and renters related to the May 27 flood that struck the southwestern part of the county in order to apply for federal aid.

Elise Armacost, director of public affairs for Baltimore County Fire and Emergency Management, said the amount of public infrastructure damage has already exceeded the $3 million damage threshold necessary for the jurisdiction to be eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.

She said she did not have an exact number for how many individual residents, businesses or homeowners have submitted information related to damage, but estimated “dozens.”

“It’s unclear at this point what other aid, besides the SBA loans, may be available,” Armacost said in an email. “We are waiting for FEMA to tell us based on the documentation we submit.”

Businesses of all sizes, private and nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters would all be eligible for low-interest loans from the SBA, according to the county.

Armacost said information from county residents and business owners must be submitted by Friday, June 29, so the county can review all of it before turning it in to the federal government.

Officials are asking those submitting information to include the location of the affected property, the extent of the loss, the value of the affected property, the estimated value of the loss, how much of the loss was or was not covered by insurance, and contact information.

Residents and businesses can submit the information by sending an email to emergencymanagement@baltimorecountymd.gov.

Submitting information to the county is not an application for federal aid.

County work crews helped homeowners and residents pump water and sewage out of more than 400 basements and collected debris from 780 addresses in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Westchester Avenue, in Oella, is now open to traffic, though paving work continues, county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said in an email. Weather permitting, paving should be completed within 60 days.

The damaged River Road bridge has been demolished by a contractor, and River Road remains closed with no timeline for reopening. Thistle Road also remains closed with no timeline for repairs and reopening.

Tracy Imm, a spokeswoman with the Maryland Insurance Administration, said consumers can continue to contact the administration if they believe they have been wronged by their private insurance company.

Consumers seeking recourse or with questions can call the agency at 800-492-6116 or go to www.insurance.maryland.gov.

She said 29 consumers in the area have filed complaints about their insurance following the storms.

County Councilman Tom Quirk, a Democrat who represents District 1, where the storm hit hardest, said he has been getting “hundreds” of calls and emails praising the efforts of county work crews and officials in response to the damage, even though it was a “really, really difficult storm for Baltimore County.”

“This is definitely something I think the county threw the whole kitchen sink at,” he said. “It was all hands on deck, from a county perspective.”

cboteler@baltsun.com

twitter.com/codyboteler

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