Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Flood-buyout hasn’t proven costly to Hannibal

  • Buchanan County officials in Northwest Missouri say the county will not participate in a federal buyout program for land damaged during the 2011 flood.
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  • Buchanan County officials in Northwest Missouri say the county will not participate in a federal buyout program for land damaged during the 2011 flood.
    County officials said Tuesday the county can’t afford to participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Voluntary Flood Buyout Program, which would provide funds for home and property owners on the north shore of Sugar Lake. The county would need to provide a 25 percent match, which would have amounted to $86,705.
    In Hannibal, both residential and commercial property buyouts are winding up.
    “We completed the last residential buyout demolitions on Dec. 28. All properties are now purchased, demolished and seeded,” said City Manager Jeff LaGarce.
    The city’s latest residential flood buyout program has taken years to complete.
    “The flood was June 2008, the grant was written December 2008, and we finished December 2012. It’s a very difficult program to undertake,” said LaGarce.
    Although challenging and time consuming, the buyouts will not represent a massive budgetary hit for Hannibal. In addition to tapping into the FEMA buyout program, LaGarce also secured Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which come through the Missouri Department of Economic Development (MDED). The grants have been used to cover the local 25 percent matches required for the residential and commercial buyouts.
    David Cheek of the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments, which administered the residential buyout for the city, says any out-of-pocket expenses the city might have absorbed as a result of the flood buyout were “very minimal in the beginning.” Those costs likely took the form of staff time and public notices which had to be published, according to Cheek.
    “The city was on its toes to apply for the 25 percent match,” said Cheek. “Some communities don’t know about it. I applaud the city for its efforts.”
    In the beginning, the city was allocated $746,108 by FEMA, through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). The CDBG totaled $248,702.
    Nowhere near that almost $1 million total was used for the residential buyout. In fact, “quite a bit (of the money) will go back” to SEMA and MDED, according to Cheek.
    For Hannibal’s residential buyout, $342,884 was spent to acquire 15 properties. The demolition bid of $81,800 was below the $122,000 that was allocated.
    As for the commercial buyout, Doug Warren, city finance director, says the city also spent less than it was given. Totalling what came from FEMA and the MDED, the city had $2.53 million to spend on the commercial buyout. A total of 25 commercial parcels were purchased for $1,797,390. The total demolition cost for the commercial properties was $316,994, which was $107,006 below the city’s demolition budget.
    As with the leftover residential buyout funds, the city will refund any unspent money.
    Page 2 of 2 - While the residential demolition work has been wrapped up, the demolition of some commercial properties continues.
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