Four homes approved for Pearlington buy-out program

PEARLINGTON, MS (WLOX) - After years of talking about it, Hancock County's buy-out program has finally gotten off the ground. Some repetitive loss homes in the Pearlington community are currently in the process of being purchased through the MEMA funded program.

It's news many residents have been waiting for since Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina put water a foot and a half over the roof of the house. I've been flooded since Katrina three times at over three foot," said Pearlington Resident Lori Gibson.

Gibson is one of 110 Pearlington residents who have signed up for the voluntary buy-out program. She says cleaning up the mess and making costly home repairs after every little storm has her ready to throw in the towel.

"I'm just tired of running, I want to go to safety. I'm hard core Pearlington, but it's time to get to safer ground."

So far, four homes have been approved and appraised for the buy-out program. Gibson hopes her home is in the next round.

"Offers have been made on three and we're in the process of actually closing the first," explained County Attorney Ronnie Artigues.

Artigues said there will be no appeals process on any finalized appraisal. He said from that point, basically a 'take it or leave it' offer will be made.

"The values being offered are based on appraisals, they do reflect fair market value for people it is voluntary as we said so the people do not have to except It but the appraised value is all we'll be able to offer."

County leaders say they will have up to $10 million to purchase as many repetitive loss properties as they can.

County Supervisor David Yarborough said, "We want to stretch this money as far as we can stretch it. So we're actually going to purchase the footprint of the house, plus a 30 foot perimeter around the home. So if they have acres they can still move over and build a home right back in Pearlington. We really don't want to lose the tax base. We can't afford it. The tax base is real important to us and we don't want to lose our people."

County leaders say it's not too late to apply for the program, but they say those already on the list will be considered first.

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