Rep. Serpa to prefile legislation to help homeowners and businesses in wake of storm

STATE HOUSE – August 13, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) has announced that she will prefile legislation in November for the next session of the General Assembly to assist homeowners and businesses that were adversely affected by a storm that ravaged Rhode Island communities on Aug. 4.

Representative Serpa, who serves as chairwomen of the House Small Business Committee, represents two of the communities that were hit hardest by the storm — West Warwick and Warwick. To help property and business owners deal with the aftermath, Representative Serpa will file two bills, one aimed at homeowners and the other at business owners.

The first is a proposal to provide a $500 tax credit to property owners whose property sustained damage as a result of the Aug. 4 storm.

“Many constituents reported to me that their homeowner’s insurance covered only $500 of the $1,500, $2,500 and $3,000 costs they were quoted to have a fallen tree removed from their property,” said Representative Serpa. “Others reported that their insurance didn’t cover any of the costs at all. Damage to fences, swimming pools or sheds is not covered in some cases. Some reported suspected price gouging and feel as though unscrupulous home repair companies are taking advantage of them.”

The second bill would provide a $5,000 interest-free loan for businesses that sustained damage or lost business during the storm. The loan, whose application and approval would be administered by CommerceRI, would be payable back to the state over a five-year period.

“As chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business, I recognize the unexpected hardship that this storm has caused,” said Representative Serpa. “Restaurants that were trying to recover some of their losses as the result of a harsh winter, lost their electricity for days and had to throw away food. Golf courses in the area will spend tens of thousands of dollars removing fallen trees. Many individuals and businesses that need trees removed are on a long waiting list because of the storm’s severity. It is imperative that the state do something to ease the burden.”

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401)222-2457

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