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Flood buyouts will miss some residents

– Some Johnson County homeowners who had hoped to be part of a buyout of flood-damaged properties are getting disappointing news: The county doesn’t have enough money to complete the job.

A $4.5 million grant the county received in 2010 to buy and demolish up to 50 homes damaged in the 2008 flood is nearly gone, according to the Daily Journal.

County planning director Bryan Pohl said about $400,000 of the grant is left. The county plans to spend at least $150,000 to demolish 20 homes it purchased, but that would leave enough money to buy and demolish just one more home, not the four on the list of homes it had looked at buying.

The goal of the buyout was to get homeowners into new homes and prevent future flood damage.

Pohl said the remaining four homes were on the county’s alternate list, which was created in case homeowners on the priority list decided not to participate in the buyout or a bank refused to accept an offer.

He said county officials had cautioned homeowners on the alternate list that they might not have enough money to include their homes in the buyout.

Mary Moran, mitigation branch chief in the division of emergency response and recovery with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said priority for buyouts is given to substantially damaged homes lived in by the homeowners and homes where residents with special medical needs live. Next, the state suggests buying homeowner-occupied homes that weren’t substantially damaged and rental homes that were substantially damaged, she said.

Pohl said one of the remaining homes is in foreclosure, two were rentals and a fourth was ineligible to be purchased in the buyout.