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|Flood buy out plan advances|
Recent heavy spring rains in Franklin Parish have caused a few anxious moments for some living in low areas, but others got encouragement from visitors from the Governor's office.
Three representatives of the Hazard Mitigation office within Governor Bobby Jindal's office spent several days in Winnsboro last week interviewing the 37 owners of low lying homes who are interested in a flood buy out program.
"If the governor's office invests three days looking at us, that's a pretty good indication that they think it is a viable program," said Mitch Reynolds Franklin Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Before the interviewers left Winnsboro, they gave Reynolds a range of follow-up tasks which are designed to move the potential buy out program into a reality.
Reynolds was assigned the job of investigating the flood buy out, which uses federal money to local communities through the state. Local communities are responsible for starting a program by inviting public participation. The Franklin Parish Police Jury commissioned Reynolds as the lead pubic official for the project earlier this year.
"There are no new flooded homes," in the group of homes under consideration, said Reynolds.
"All the homes fall into one of two categories, either they are in a repetitive loss or a severely repetitive loss situation," he said. He explained that the terms are Federal Emergency Management Agency speak for homes which have flooded more than three times or on a regular basis.
Of the wrap up tasks he was assigned, Reynolds said they were mostly taking pictures and assembling legal property descriptions.
Reynolds said the next steps, following detail gathering, will be for the Governor's office to submit the plan to FEMA for approval.
Reynolds said FEMA will have 60 days during which to approve or deny the plan. If approved, more work will be involved.
There will be bid processes for the use of attorney service and other property transaction professionals and for tear down and removal services. But, successful negotiations with individual owners will need to be the first step following FEMA approval.
The federal plan calls for payment for only a part of the value of the property and for the property to be placed in an uninhabited state.
The goal of the program is to reduce property damage.