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Flood victims hear buyout program possibilities

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
April 7, 2004
Lauderdale County supervisors will decide whether people whose homes were damaged by the April 2003 floods could receive the current fair market value or the pre-flood value in a countywide buyout program.
Bob Boteler, director of the mitigation bureau with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said his office recommends fair market value compensation to homeowners who qualify to participate in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to buy flood-prone property.
Under the program's guidelines, money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be used to offer 75 percent of the appraised value of property belonging to homeowners who qualify for the program.
The county will pay 100 percent of any closing costs, demolition, appraisal and site restoration associated with properties that qualify for the program.
Boteler told about 100 people who attended a public meeting Tuesday at the Raymond P. Davis County Annex Building that there are two approaches to fair market value. The briefing came exactly one year after torrential storms dumped more than 9 inches of rain on Meridian, causing widespread flash floods.
Current fair market value is based on the current condition of the house and would reflect any benefits that might have been received by the homeowner.
Lauderdale County supervisors advertised that it would offer current fair market value for the properties. Boteler said the market value will be subject to review by the board of supervisors.
Neal Carson, Lauderdale County engineer, said this morning that the appraisal of the property will be based on what is best for the homeowners.