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  • Trent Ashby

Capitol Update: Flood Response Resources

Updated: 2 days ago

Given the recent flooding that has occurred across House District 9, I want to forego the regular introduction and dedicate this column to highlighting various local, state, and federal resources that will be critical to the recovery process.


First and foremost, I want to re-emphasize the importance of reporting damage to your residential, commercial, or agricultural property through the Texas Department of Emergency Management’s (TDEM) self-reporting survey called the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (ISTAT). With the information you provide, local officials and other partners can help identify resources that may be needed in the community. Completing the survey will also allow you to ask for volunteer clean-up support that may be available. If you haven’t already, please complete the ISTAT survey, which can be found at www.damage.tdem.gov.


In a similar vein, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency also offers disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers through the Emergency Conservation Program. For more information, you can find your local USDA Office at https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app or your local AgriLife office at https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/counties/.


I also want to highlight the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) online Drive Texas map. With the potential for more rain in the near future and numerous road closures across House District 9, the Drive Texas Map offers a current and accurate assessment of road conditions, which are updated every five minutes. You can access the Drive Texas Map at www.drivetexas.org/


Next, the Small Business Administration has opened three Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in our region and a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center at FOCWAssistance@sba.gov or at (916) 735-1512 is available. The physical outreach centers are located at the following locations:

 Jasper Economic Office of Emergency Management at 271 E Lamar Street, Jasper, TX.

 Trout Creek Fire Department at 2092 FM-2829, Call, TX.

 Tyler County Office of Emergency Management at 201 Veterans Way, Woodville, TX.


Because all six counties within House District 9 fall under the disaster declaration, some property may qualify for a property tax exemption under the Texas Property Tax Code. Qualified property that is at least 15 percent damaged by a disaster in a governor-declared disaster area may be eligible to receive a temporary exemption of a portion of the appraised value of the property. To learn more about the temporary disaster-related property tax exemptions, please contact your local county appraisal district.


While the aforementioned resources represent a myriad of state and federal assistance, I want to emphasize the importance of your local city and county leaders in the recovery process. While state and federal agencies remain ready to assist communities in need, their resources cannot be deployed without the request, coordination, and direction of locally elected officials. As such, I encourage you to stay engaged with your local leaders who will be at the forefront of the recovery process.


As the recovery process unfolds over the coming weeks and months, please be vigilant of any suspicious solicitations to repair or assess damage to your property. There have been reports of scammers seeking to take advantage of affected property owners by masquerading as a repair specialist. If you’re solicited by an individual or an unfamiliar company offering to repair damages for low-cost, cash only payments, please avoid engaging with them and consider contacting your local police or sheriff’s office.


Please know that my office will continue to closely monitor the ongoing recovery efforts and stands ready to provide any assistance. Though the damage and devastation may have rattled our community, no amount of destruction can bury the resiliency and grit of our Deep East Texas community. I’d like to thank all of our emergency response personnel, local leaders, and fellow Deep East Texans for their tireless efforts to react and respond to these events, and for their commitment to the recovery process.


The mobile office is still on the road this month, and our District Director looks forward to seeing you on May 15 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9-11 a.m. and the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30 p.m.


As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762 and my Capitol office may be reached at (512) 463-0508. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what's happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

 

 

 

 

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