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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 10, 2010, 11:43 AM

Family relieved to find out that Cass County will buy their evacuated home

Georgetown, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A family saddled with double house payments for over a year is finally getting some relief. Clay County is shelling out 20-thousand dollars to help buy a home they were forced out of during the flood of 09. It wasn't just the flood, but the flood of bills that got commissioners attention.

Kelly: “Never ever thought this would happen to me.”

It is cramped quarters for this family of three who is used to their own beds and a huge yard in the country. But 500 dollars a month rent gives them a home, which they haven't had since March 25th of 2009 when they had to evacuate because of flooding.

Even though they downsized, Kelly still pays bills at this house in Georgetown. Including a one thousand dollar monthly mortgage payment, a 20 dollar electricity fee, even though the power's out and ironically, flood insurance costs which increase again in September.

The kids had to switch schools and wait for news of a possible flood buyout. They were told not to rebuild.

Kelly: “Wondering how I will pay for this. Will I have to fund own buyout?”

The news finally came. County commissioners voted to pay the 20-thousand dollar local share that would make a buyout possible, something they did not do for anyone else. Making possible Kelly and her kids' dream of being re-united with their pets, finally feeling settled and moving on from the 2009 flood once and for all.

The 20-thousand dollars will come from extra revenue gained during the Flood reimbursement process. Homeowners may have to dig into their own pockets to buy out their flood prone homes in the future.

More than 48 people are still on the buyout list in Clay County. Commissioners discussed how the struggle to find the 25 percent local share, not covered by FEMA, may have to fall partially on the homeowner trying to get rid of the house.

Clay County Planning Director Tim Magnusson said they would pay up to 12 and a half percent. In the most recent 8 buyouts, the DNR covered the other 12 and a half percent.

“You're being asked to take 87 and half percent value for your property, some people would get out for that.”

Magnusson says Clay County has never asked people to do that before, but this type of policy has been used in other places.

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