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How can we help?

Dear Member:


I, like many of you I'm sure, sat in on the Island Institute webinar on storm resources yesterday and thought I'd share some of the bullet points from that conversation.


The Press Herald also covered the webinar in a story today. You can find that HERE.


While much is still unknown, here are a few updates:


* For municipal and state officials, last Wednesday's and Saturday's storms are two different events and need to be reported that way. Homeowners and business owners, however, can detail all of their damage from both storms on one form (the link is below), but should differentiate the damage in the form's narrative.


* Already, 470+ businesses had filed damages.


* Filing for last Wednesday's storm damage should take place by Jan. 18, and filing for Saturday's storm by Jan. 22, if at all possible. States have only 30 days to file for disasters.


* The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration process can take 12 months and covers the working waterfront operations including fishermen.


* While federal help may come through, it will likely not cover all damages, since FEMA's funding goes to cover basic necessities like shelter or basic repairs to make a property stable.


* A homeowner or business' best source of repair funding is likely to come from their own insurance.


* Second home owners will likely not be covered by FEMA funds, though if they use the property for rentals, they could file as a business.


* Damaged property owners should create a flood folder and put all photos, videos and receipts in there.


* The SBA's emergency declaration loan program will likely be the fastest source of funding once a declaration is approved. It will offer low interest rate 30-year loans. (You can find FAQs HERE.)


* According to Anne Fuchs from the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Gov. Mills will likely be ready to file for disaster status by the second week in February. The application must then be approved by President Biden for a disaster to be formally declared. While that can happen in as little as two weeks, it can also take months.


* While FEMA may eventually offer crisis counseling, people who are struggling should contact the Red Cross.


If you'd like to watch the recording of the webinar, you can find it HERE.


The Island Institute also plans to put together a Q and A sheet from yesterday's webinar. We'll share that when it becomes available.


In the meantime, we've got some more tips below that may help.


Laura


P.S.: Senator King's office sent along some fact sheets on FEMA's processes and programs that may prove informative. Click on the links below to read:


Fact sheet on the declaration process

Fact sheet on individual assistance

Fact sheet on public assistance

Fact sheet on preliminary damage assessments from December's storms


P.P.S.: Bangor Daily News article on why many Maine homes won't be eligible for relief.


Tips from members


We asked our local insurance agencies to share some tips for people/businesses experiencing flooding. Thanks to all who jumped right in!


Michael Adinson, Kennebunk Savings Insurance:


* Take photos and videos of all damage.


* Notify your agent/agency right away.


* Keep good records.


* Take reasonable precautions to protect property from further damages.


* Try to keep damaged property until they are inspected.


* Keep all receipts, invoices, purchase orders etc. to present to the adjuster handling the claim.


Jonathan Johnson, Kasprzak Insurance


* If you cannot reach your agent, you may be able to contact your insurance company directly online and process the claim. 


* Most flood insurance policies have deductibles of at least $1,000. Most have $2,500 or $5,000 as banks do not allow them to have higher when they borrow money. 


* Your agent should be able to direct you as to whether you might be eligible for coverage on your regular business owner policy if you don't carry flood insurance. 



Trisha Deye, agent, State Farm:


* Typically, insurance companies advise customers to get an estimate to access damages first. In these cases, we say call right away. There are more claim adjusters sent to an area after a catastrophe has been declared. It can help speed the claim process.

 

* Make sure to patch any damage to prevent further damage before permanent repairs are complete.

 

* Always prepare for disasters ahead of time. Have basic supplies on hand for a few days. Make a plan for work and home ahead of time.


Diane M. Raychard, Customer Service Representative & Claims Specialist, Peoples Insurance Agency:


* When reporting damage, think about who, what, where and when.


* Calling someone for restoration and/or remediation for fire, smoke, water or mold is always good.



Our friend Rick Talbot at ServPro also shared water damage emergency tips - applicable to both homes and businesses, and you can find those HERE.



A word from COS


Our hearts and prayers go out to all of our neighbors affected by the devastation of this weekend’s storm. If you or someone you know has been impacted by the storm and needs food assistance, please contact our Food Pantry at info@coskennebunks.org or reach out to your town’s General Assistance Office in the towns of Arundel, Kennebunk, or Kennebunkport.



Town of Arundel

Town of Kennebunk

Town of Kennebunkport


TRACK AND REPORT YOUR DAMAGE!
The State of Maine has created a survey for coastal property owners to report damage from this week's storm. You can find info in a BDN article HERE.
There is a special survey for business and agricultural owners HERE.

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor!

Resources from the Island Institute


RESOURCES FOR ASSISTANCE

First and foremost, contact your County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). County EMAs are the critical link between cities and towns and the State. They provide support for response, recovery and mitigation to local, business and volunteer partners.

Additional resources:

If you need additional assistance, please contact Sam Belknap, Director, Center for Marine Economy at sbelknap@islandinstitute.org.


REPORTING DAMAGE

It’s imperative that individuals with damaged property document it by taking photos and compiling a list of damages and losses. This information will provide local emergency management agencies with the information they need to respond, and to request state and federal support resources.  

To report damage, The Maine Emergency Management Agency has provided online surveys to fill out: 


INSURANCE QUESTION RESOURCES

The Maine Bureau of Insurance has several resources to help Maine people navigate insurance questions during flooding and natural disasters.



FLOOD-RELATED OIL CLEAN-UP RESOURCES

During flooding, basement fuel oil tanks can float and release oil. If your home is affected by flooding, the Maine DEP will inspect your oil system and advise on cleaning up any spills free of charge. If you have an oil spill requiring cleanup, Maine DEP can often provide cleanup services at little or no cost to you. This service is available after any weather event. Request it by calling Maine DEP at (800) 482-0777. The line is staffed 24/7.


Member businesses that can help
We have a number of member businesses who may be able to help. We've included a few categories below that might be what you need.
The first to reach out to us was Servpro, which specializes in this kind of clean-up. Rick Talbot said to please call the office at 772-5032 and reference the Chamber, so they know where you are coming from.
New member Insurcomm also stopped by yesterday to talk about property damage restoration work they do as well.
Also, Kennebunk Storage Solutions is offering temporary storage by the week for anyone needing it for storm-related clean-ups and repairs. Give them a call at 985-9900.
Sharper Events and Tents has large box trucks to haul out debris: they are around and ready to lend a hand! You can reach them at (207) 337-4891.
The Chamber has free meeting spaces, copying/printing, phones and more, should you need any of it. Call the office at 967-0857 or my cell at 251-0307.
Other categories of help (just click on the category to reach the page):
Handyman services, contractors
Cleaning services
Excavating
Landscaping
Storage
Financial services
Automotive services
Videography/drone services (state officials recommended using video)
Photographers (officials recommended taking photos of all damage)

Thanking our first responders


Our local emergency responders were nothing short of heroic over the weekend. They waded through hip-deep water (see Kingsley Gallup photo, above), put themselves at risk to help people evacuate and stood guard in dangerous areas to prevent people trying to just get a glimpse of the destruction from getting hurt.


I'm sure they're exhausted, but their work certainly isn't done. I'm also sure DPW will be getting a workout in the days to come. If you have the capability, please think about dropping off a box of doughnuts or coffee, pizza or any other food that might help them keep going and show the community's appreciation.


You can also send a note of thanks to the folks leading the departments:


Kennebunk Police: Chief Bob MacKenzie

Kennebunk Fire-Rescue: Chief Justin Cooper

Kennebunk Public Services: Bryan Laverriere

Kennebunkport Police: Chief Craig Sanford

Kennebunkport Fire: Chief John Everett

Kennebunkport DPW: Chris Simeoni

Arundel Fire: Chief Andrew Stevenson

Arundel DPW: Terry Merrill


*NEW*

Membership Packet!


We have revamped our membership packet and are excited to share it with you all!


This includes information about our team, board of directors, membership resources, our 2024 events calendar and more.


You can access the packet here.


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The ad commitment deadline for our publications is January 31, 2024.


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Maine Revenue Services Offers Maine Tax Portal Webinars for Individual Income Tax 



Maine Revenue Services will offer free, live training webinars for individuals and tax professionals on how to use the Maine Tax Portal to file, pay and manage state Individual Income Taxes, from January 18, 2024 through April 11, 2024.


The Maine Tax Portal is Maine Revenue Services’ new online system for filing, paying, and managing state taxes. It replaces and expands Maine Revenue Service’s current online services, including I-File, FastFile, and EZ Pay, which have been deactivated for most taxes. These webinars are an important opportunity for taxpayers and tax professionals who used those systems to learn how to use the Maine Tax Portal.


To sign up for a training session, individuals and tax professionals should visit maine.gov/revenue/mtpwebinarschedule.


Individual Income taxpayers who use third-party, self-service software to prepare and file state taxes can continue to use those services to file their taxes just as they have in the past.



Other resources on the Maine Tax Portal can be found online at maine.gov/revenue/portal. Questions may be sent by emailing taxpayerassist@maine.gov with “MTP” in the subject line or by calling MRS at 624-9784.

 

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Our sign's message


This sign is meant to inform the public that businesses in our community are aware of the Maine Human Rights Act. We will strive to uphold the law and make our place of business a welcoming space for everyone. This sign is also meant to show support for groups who might feel uncomfortable in a state that is among the least diverse in the nation. Further, it is to let our neighbors and customers know that we have a commitment to making our 3 towns, 1 community a place of safety for everyone, regardless of race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation (which includes gender identity and expression), physical or mental disability, religion or age.


If you'd like to download a copy of the sign to hang in your business or share, you'll find a PDF version HERE.


For more information on the Maine Human Rights Act, go HERE.

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