We have kept out of your in box for awhile as your local officials have certainly been keeping you informed regarding local Sandy recovery. Some of the small barrier island "downtowns" are essentially gone. Other downtowns throughout New Jersey are damaged. Surprisingly, some shore downtowns, such as Belmar's, are essentially undamaged. We will do a statewide assessment shortly. For now, particularly with a Nor'ester approaching for tomorrow, stay safe and God speed.
Business disaster assistance
Disaster assistance for businesses is complex and quite different than for private individuals. The primary assistance is low-interest loans. However, there are disaster related unemployment insurance and other programs that may be of assistance.
For disaster aid
Call: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
Mobile web: m.fema.gov
-Businesses can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery, or inventory. The loan may be increased to pay for improvements that can mitigate future disasters. The business loans have an interest rate of 4 percent.
-Businesses with fewer than 500 employees and aquatic businesses are eligible for loans of up to $2 million to use as working capital that can help pay the bills that are due.
-Home and business owners interested in the loan program can apply at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
-Workers and (eligible) business owners who have lost their jobs because of Sandy are eligible for unemployment benefits. The state advises them to apply online first at www.njuifile.net because it is faster. But, central New Jersey workers can call the state Labor Department at 732-761-2020.
-The New Jersey Small Business Development Center has indicated that it will help business owners navigate the federal loan programs that are available beginning. Contact your local Small Business Development Center .
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League Conference cancelled
If you are not on the League of Municipalities distribution, you may not be aware that the League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City for this year is cancelled.
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Disaster contact information
Below is a helpful list of contacts that was published in the Asbury Park Press. While it was listed as useful for Ocean and Monmouth Counties , it seems to all apply statewide. You may want to copy and paste this and send it out to your constituents
* For urgent and immediate health and safety issues: Call 911.
* For non-immediate health matters or other assistance: Call 211 or go online at www.nj211.org for help with nonemergency issues, including basic needs and support for seniors, people with disabilities, children or mental health issues.
* To file a claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency: Call 800-621-FEMA (800-621-3362). Make sure you register with FEMA. A printable form is here: www.ready.nj.gov/plan/ pdf/091211_dr4021_ application.pdf.
* To report a downed electrical line: Contact your local energy provider. Be prepared to give the nearest cross street or the number of a nearby pole that has not been damaged and is away from any downed wires; the pole number can be found on the metal tag attached to the pole. PSE&G is 800-436-7734; Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is 800-662-3115; Atlantic City Electric is 800-642-3780.
* To report a gas leak: Contact your local gas provider. New Jersey Natural Gas: 800-427-5325; PSE&G: 800-436-7734.
* To file an insurance claim, if you can't find the company or agent's number: Call the state Department of Banking and Insurance at 800-446-7467 or go to www.dobi.nj.gov.
* To report complaints about insurance companies: Call the state Department of Banking and Insurance at 800-446-7467 or go to https://www16.state.nj.us/ DOBI_UIC/servlet/ Servlet.idxServlet? div='INS'. A printable complaint form is here: www.state.nj.us/ dobi/complain.pdf
* To report complaints about electric or gas utilities: Call the state Board of Public Utilities: 800-624-0241 or 609-341-9188.
* To report possible consumer fraud or price gouging by contractors or others: State law makes excessive price increases illegal during a state of emergency and for 30 days following the end of the emergency. Call the state Division of Consumer Affairs at 862-209-0130 or 973-220-3474.
* To provide volunteer assistance in the cleanup and restoration effort: Call 800-JERSEY-7 (800-537-7397). Backup numbers: 609-775-5236 or 908-303-0471. Volunteers may also send an email to rowena.madden@ sos.state.nj.us. This service is managed by the state Business Action Center and the Governor's Office of Volunteerism, both divisions within the Department of State.
* To request volunteer assistance: Call 211 or go online at www.nj211.org.
* Extension of motor vehicle document deadlines: To ease the burden on customers who did not have a chance to visit a motor vehicle office in October, the state has authorized a 30-day extension for all driver's licenses, vehicle registrations and vehicle inspection stickers that expired Oct. 31. The order is here: www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf /About/Admin_Order_ 2012_03.pdf.
* State aid: Department of Health and Senior Services: www.nj.gov/ health/er/natural.shtml. New Jersey Department of Health, Directory of Local Health Departments in New Jersey : http://nj. gov/health/lh/documents/ lhdirectory.pdf. State Department of Environmental Protection's Hurricane Sandy page on precautionary wastewater measures, how municipalities can apply for emergency land use permits, when to boil their water and much more: http://www.nj.gov/ dep/special/hurricane- sandy/.