Buy-out proposal could help Hancock County flood victims

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - One of the largest federal buy-outs in more than 40 years is about to take place in Hancock County. The government is trying to help people get out of flood zones by using a $10 million grant to purchase as many homes as possible in low lying areas.

Denee Breckley and her family have seen their Pearlington home flood three times in nine years.

"My poor husband, he works non-stop trying to get us back into it every time," Breckley said.

She hopes to qualify for the voluntary buy-out program.

"I love my home in Pearlington, but I think it's time to move," Breckley said. "I'm tried of getting flooded. And the insurance is just going to go up every time you get flooded."

Her neighbor a few blocks away says, Thanks, but no thanks.

"I have no intentions of going along with this buy-out. I look at it this way, if I go anywhere else, I've got snow storms, earthquakes, fire, tornados, whatever, anywhere you go," AJ Percle said.

A meeting was being held Wednesday night to gauge public interest.

Mickey LaGasse with CDM Engineering Firm said, "Tonight [Wednesday] we're having the first formal meeting of the Hancock County flood accusation program. It's going to be for structures only. This is strictly money to mitigate people from being flooded again."

LaGasse said this buy-out program has nothing to do with the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers' buy-out program. That proposal called for purchasing 5,000 pieces of property a year on the coast for the next five years.

"I just hope that they give us what the banks say our house is worth, those appraisers, and not the county appraisers," Breckley said.

"The value is determined either by pre-Katrina values or post Katrina values. The county can choose either or, but not both," LaGasse said. "If the majority of the citizens had a higher value pre-Katrina, that's what the county would most likely use."

Again, people who live in Bay St. Louis or Waveland are not eligible for this program.

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