Special town hall meeting tonight in Baxter Springs

A special town hall meeting will be held this evening in Baxter Springs.
Residents will be given an update on the recovery process, along with information regarding volunteer resources and Small Business Administration disaster loans.
The Baxter Springs street department estimates that curbside debris clean up is nearly complete.
“We’ve really cleaned the town,” said mayor Randy Trease. “It’s really looking good.”
Trease hopes any residents and business owners who sustained damage will apply for a SBA loan to gear up for rebuilding.
“I’m hopeful the guidelines aren’t so high so that the residents here can take advantage of them in that respect,” he said.
According to representatives at the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center, many will qualify.
“They qualify based on the fact that they’ve had some type of damage as a result of the tornado, so that’s the only qualifier,” said Yolanda Stokes, Small Business Administration.
Homeowners are eligible to borrow up to $200,000 to replace a primary residence, and an additional $40,000 for private property.
Renters can receive up to $40,000 to replace their personal property, which can include their vehicle.
“Business owners are eligible for up to $2 million and that can be an aggregate of physical losses and any income that they might need, working capital that they need to kind of sustain them over this period,” Stokes said.
Applicants must complete an interview with a loss verifier to determine the amount they are eligible to receive.
Representatives say the time it takes to receive that amount depends on the individual’s circumstances.
While it may not help everyone, city officials say it is an important part of long-term recovery efforts.
“It’ll take a little time, but we’ll survive and we’ll move forward,” Trease said.
Residents with further questions are encouraged to attend a town hall meeting tonight at 7:00 at Baxter Springs High School.
Those who wish to apply for a loan can visit the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce.