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Council Members Want A Long-Term Buyout Plan For Flooded Homes

A stop work order from MSD.
A stop work order from MSD.

A bipartisan group of Metro Council members is asking the Metropolitan Sewer District to set aside up to $2 million for a long-term home buyout program as part of an ongoing citywide effort to deal with houses that flood frequently.

Four councilmembers — Angela Leet (R-7), Kelly Downard (R-16), Dan Johnson (D-21) and Madonna Flood (D-24) — are sponsoring a resolution asking MSD to prepare a home buyout plan within 60 days.

MSD is carrying out a $1 million quick-buyout program, which will end next month. Officials are in the process of buying about 20 houses that are flooding on a regular basis.

A flood mitigation workgroup first recommended that Metro government also pitch in money, but Leet said this should be handled by MSD.

“They have the expertise because this is what they do every day,” she said. “They deal with our common sewer overflows. They deal with our sanitary sewers. They deal with our storm sewers.”

A change in weather patterns has led to more substantial flooding in the city recently. Some houses have been getting the brunt of these changes and have sustained so much damage that they are barred by law from further repairs.

The city has been juggling efforts to deal with some of those homes in the short-term, as well as come up with a plan for homes that could run into the same problems in the future.

The council resolution would request that MSD get a concrete long-term plan — and funding for it — in place.

“I would rather take the extra time and come up with a long-term solution, and find a way so that we aren’t talking about this again in five years,” Leet, a member of the citywide flood mitigation workgroup, said.

According to a news release from the resolution's sponsors, “the plan will include those people who are outside of the flood plain but whose property assessments have been affected by the flooding.”

The resolution will receive its first reading at the council's regular meeting on Thursday night and will then be assigned to a committee for consideration.