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Story Archives: Home values reassessed in buyout plan
|Home values reassessed in buyout plan|
A new assessment of the value of 36 low-lying homes in Franklin Parish makes it more likely the federal government will give the green light to a flood buyout program for the parish.
State officials said a previous estimate of about $6 million to fund the program made after interviewing homeowners, will not be used. Instead, a new cost analysis with a price tag of less than $2 million made by the Hazard Mitigation office within Gov. Bobby Jindal's office, has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The lower cost makes it more feasible that the federal government will finance the buyout, according to officials.
"At $6 million dollars, there wasn't enough benefit for the federal government to move ahead with a buyout," D. Casey Levy, a mitigator with the governor's office, told the Franklin Parish Police Jury Thursday during their regular meeting.
Levy said it would probably be about a month before FEMA would announce whether the plan would come to fruition.
The police jury has commissioned Mitch Reynolds, director of the parish Homeland Security office to investigate the flood buyout, which uses federal money to aid local communities through the state in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Local communities are responsible for starting a program by inviting public participation.
Homeowners must agree to the buyout of individual homes before any transaction can take place, Reynolds said.
For homes to qualify for a buyout, they must have flooded more than three times or are in area that flood on a regular basis, according to federal officials.
Applications for home owners to participate in the buyout ended in October.
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.
"If they agree to it, then we will proceed from there. There will be no further cost to the homeowner and nobody has to take the offer," Reynolds said Monday.
In other business, the Franklin Parish Police Jury voted to allow the use of parish equipment and workers to help repair Birch Street in Wisner.