If the board of aldermen gives the go-ahead, the city of Pacific will apply for flood buyouts for some single-family homes when FEMA announces that funds are available, according to City Administrator Steve Roth.
Roth told aldermen in April, prior to the May flood, that FEMA advised the city to be ready for the 2017 round of FEMA flood buyout applications soon.
After inspections, homes that are designated substantially damaged must be either elevated or demolished and qualify for FEMA funding to do one or the other.
Some 37 homes were designated substantially damaged following the December 2015 flood, according to Dan Rahn, city flood manager.
The city submitted a grant application for buyouts for the 37 properties and the grant was approved, but FEMA ran out of money so the buyouts were never completed.
Following that event, property owners voluntarily demolished 13 of the substantially damaged homes and elevated another four. Since the property owners accepted that financial responsibility, they would not qualify for FEMA reimbursement, Rahn said.
The remaining substantially damaged homes from the 2015 flood could be included in a buyout application if and when FEMA funds are available and if the property owners desire.
“It’s a voluntary program,” Rahn said. “The property owners have to volunteer and say, ‘Yes, I’m in.’ ”
In the May 2017 flood, 168 homes were affected by floodwater. Of those, more than 20 had already been designated as substantially damaged from the 2015 event, were unoccupied and waiting for FEMA funds to be made available for buyout.
“Those still have the substantially damaged designation and still have to be either elevated or demolished,” Rahn said.
He said there are FEMA buyout funding rounds every year and the announcement of how much money is available is usually made by the end of June or sooner.
Flood buyouts are administrated through a grant program. Cities must apply for the grants for each individual property.
The city has received a proposal from a consultant to write and administer the grant application, but Roth said the consultant might not be needed.
“Dan Rahn and I have discussed buyout applications and at this point we would propose to prepare and file the applications ourselves,” Roth said. “I earlier received a proposal from a consultant, but upon review we felt that we were equipped to handle the applications.”
In addition to grants for buyout of single-family homes, FEMA provides flood mitigation assistance to cities to help pay for debris removal, roads and bridges, buildings and equipment, utility, parks and emergency protected measures affected by the flood.
Those funds don’t become available unless and until the president declares that the event was a federal disaster.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has declared a state disaster, but the state has yet to apply to the president to designate the 2017 flood a federal disaster.
Pacific and other communities throughout the state are assessing damages to present to the governor.
Following the 2008 flood, FEMA bought out 27 single-family residential properties in Pacific and approximately 14 homes were elevated above the flood level.