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Published August 20, 2012, 09:46 PM

Even in time of drought, flood buyouts on the way

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's hard to talk flood in the middle of a drought but believe it or not, it was about a year ago the Fargo-Moorhead experienced it's fourth highest flood on record.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's hard to talk flood in the middle of a drought but believe it or not, it was about a year ago the Fargo-Moorhead experienced it's fourth highest flood on record.

Now, as Fargo looks into permanent protection besides the proposed $2 billion diversion, more buyouts are on the way.

These three houses in the Harwood Grove areas are just a few of 10 houses slated to be bought out before 2012 is over.

By the end of 2016, 172 more could go.

And the four year price tag isn't cheap. Protection is estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $133 million.

Mayor Dennis Walaker, Fargo: “Thank god we had some people in this community that voted for the extension of this sales tax. We can only spend money that we have access to.”

Fargo City Engineer says there a few things that need to happen before the end of 2012, including the buyout of ten homes; three in Harwood Groves and seven in Oak Creek near drain 27. The city also plans to move into the second half of Rose Creek construction. Total cost would be more than $11 million this year.

April Walker, Fargo City Engineer: “There's a large group out there that is supportive and would like to be acquired.”

The rest of the local protection plan is broken into four phases, 2013 through 2016. Each phase results in dozens of buyouts and a price tag of about $30 million. But for city engineers, it's not enough.

Mark Bittner, Fargo City Engineer: “We can't get above 100-year-protection with just levees.”

Most of Fargo would be protected to above 42-feet but the city says this only solves part of the problem. The controversial diversion is still a must in the eyes of the city commission.

Dr. Tim Mahoney, Fargo City Commissioner: “When people south of here don't understand how much we're already doing, you know, this is a big issue. This water in community is huge for us.”

Brad Wimmer, Fargo City Commissioner: “A combination of all these things is going to be our answer.”

Mike Williams, Fargo City Commissioner: “Let’s protect what we have, build where we can and work on that diversion.”

At tonight's meeting the commission also approved a voluntary buyout program.

Homeowners slated to be bought out will be offered 110-percent of their market value, plus another $5,000 if they stay in the city of Fargo.

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