Pacific officials are preparing to submit a flood buyout or elevation grant application to FEMA, but must have property owner participation, according to City Administrator Steve Roth.
Roth, Dan Rahn, city flood plain manager, and other officials met with property owners Sept. 14 at Riverbend School to discuss the FEMA funding process.
Approximately 50 people were in attendance as Rahn outlined what FEMA has available to offer flood victims and the process property owners must follow.
Officials with the state emergency management association (SEMA), which administers the FEMA grants, say the city should limit the application to $1 million in property values, which would amount to approximately 10 homes, Roth said.
Damaged homes that will be submitted for this round of buyout or elevation funds will be selected on the basis of the most damage or closest to deepest water.
The city can apply in future years for homes that don’t make the cut for this application, officials said.
“They (SEMA) tell us we should think in terms of multiple years for applications,” Roth said.
The deadline for this application is looming so any interested property owners must have all their information in to the city by Oct. 9.
Success of the application is dependent on property owners getting their information into the city in a timely manner.
“It’s all up to property owners,” Roth said. “We can’t move forward until we know what you want.”
Property owners must sign a notice of voluntary interest form and supply proof of flood insurance, pictures of all sides of the home, and dollar amount of previous flood claims.
“We need all of the information to move forward on any individual claim,” Roth said.
The city’s chances for obtaining buyout or elevation grants for all properties affected by the 2015 and 2017 floods are limited by the amount of money FEMA has allocated for the program.
Last year, FEMA allocated $200 million for the buyout program. This year the total buyout funds are down to $90 million.
Pacific does have the advantage of being on everyone’s radar, Rahn said.
“I’m pretty confident that our application will be accepted and funded,” he said. “But I was pretty confident last year and we didn’t receive anything.”
Last year Pacific submitted an application for 37 homes and FEMA accepted the application. Of the 11 local applications FEMA received, the agency funded only 10. Pacific was the 11th application and received no funds last year.
Rahn said he’s at a loss to explain why Pacific received no funds last year, but he and Roth have been making Pacific’s needs known to all flood agencies.
“This year everyone (at FEMA and SEMA) is aware that Pacific has been through two disastrous floods,” Rahn said. “I can’t guarantee it, but I believe that puts us in a good position this year.”
If FEMA funding is received, property owners seeking to be bought out would receive preflood fair market value. Property owners can appeal if they disagree with the fair market value set by FEMA.
Following a title search to make sure the property is free and clear, the city would schedule a closing on the property.
Also if FEMA funds are approved, property owners who want to elevate their homes would receive an automatic benefit of $175,000. Following elevation, they would be required to maintain flood insurance for the life of the property.