PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rebuild & Recover with Confidence Following Disastrous Flooding
Important Info for Homeowners, Contractors and Law Enforcement
MARBLE FALLS, TEXAS (October 22, 2018) – Members
of the Hill Country Builders Association (HCBA) and Texas Association of Builders (TAB) stand ready to assist Central Texas Hill Country residents in the disaster declaration zone as we work together to rebuild the homes and communities that have been damaged or destroyed by the catastrophic flooding.
“As our neighbors begin to rebuild and face flood damage clean up, the Hill Country Builders Association is available to provide information and resources with regard to hiring reputable contractors, locating lost and found items and considerations for the rebuilding process,” said John Winsborough, HCBA Highland Lakes President.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor
Property owners should be wary of scammers that use high pressure tactics to coerce homeowners into signing contracts on the spot and/or requiring payments in full up front. Before hiring a contractor, homeowners are encouraged to do their homework to ensure that they’re hiring a reputable, qualified individual or company to help rebuild their home or business.
- Make sure the contractor has a permanent business location and a good reputation with a local bank and suppliers.
- Find out how long they have been in the building business. You want to know that your contractor will be around after construction is complete to fulfill any warranty obligations.
- Check with your local Better Business Bureau to learn if any complaints have been filed against your contractor.
- Ask for and verify references.
- Enter into a complete and clearly written contract with your builder or remodeler.
- Do not pay for the entire job up front or pay in cash. In fact, state law prohibits contractors in disaster areas from taking up front money unless they have held a physical business address in the county or adjacent county for at least one year. This law, found in Chapter 58 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, provides other valuable protections for those rebuilding in disaster areas.
- Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids or a hard-sell to “sign today” for a low price.
- Report Price Gouging and Scams to the Texas Attorney General’s office at http://txoag.force.com/CPDOnlineForm
Operation Lost & Found
Last week the HCBA launched Operation Lost & Found. The program is a joint venture with local emergency operations offices and law enforcement, where residents may post their lost or found items on an online bulletin board. Items posted on Operation Lost & Found include jetskis, boats, lawn furniture, outdoor equipment and more.
“So far we’ve had some success stories with reuniting owners with their lost property.” said Jen Stout, HCBA Executive Director. “It’s heartwarming to see the community working together to help others piece their lives back together.” Visit Operation Lost & Found at
Tax Exempt Recovery-Related Expenses
Some recovery-related expenses are exempt from state and local taxes. The following are considerations to keep in mind when receiving bills or invoices from a contractor:
- Texas never imposes sales tax on labor for residential repairs.
- In a declared disaster area, purchasers may claim an exemption from sales tax on separately stated charges for labor to repair or restore nonresidential real property damaged by the disaster. The materials that are used to perform the repairs are taxable.
- Taxpayers may claim an exemption from sales tax on charges for labor to repair or restore items damaged by a disaster. The exemption may be claimed on labor to repair furniture, appliances, or other items of tangible personal property. The exemption includes labor costs to launder or dry clean damaged clothes or other property.
- Arborists’ services, such as cutting down or cutting up a damaged or dead tree in a declared disaster area, are not taxable.
- Hauling away branches, limbs, or trees are waste removal services and are taxable.
- Goods and taxable services may be purchased tax free with FEMA, Salvation Army or Red Cross debit cards or vouchers.
Clean Up Tips
Separate trash into separate piles at the edge of your property before the curb. Make a pile for organic matter such as branches and vegetation, a pile for metal and appliances, and a third pile for clothing, furniture, lumber, siding and glass. Do not include chemicals, pesticides, gasoline, paint, batteries or hazardous materials. For additional information, call Burnet County Development Services or the Llano County Emergency Management Office.
Donations & Volunteering
- Red Cross is accepting volunteer applications. Visit redcross.org/volunteer.
- The First Baptist Church of Marble Falls is coordinating clean-up crews and volunteer groups.
- Donations are being accepted at First United Methodist Church in Marble Falls.
- Donations are being accepted at RR-2900 and FM-1431 in Kingsland.
- Donations are being accepted at Bible Baptist Church in Llano.
- Monetary donations to help with the flooding recovery efforts can be made through the HCBA Disaster Relief Fund by clicking the blue button below
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