Pass Christian Says NO To Proposal

More discussion and concern over a proposed land buyout deal.

The DMR and Army Corp of Engineers have held meetings in a couple of coast communities. Tuesday, it was Pass Christian's turn, however, residents in the Pass had made up their minds before the meeting began.

Corp Engineers and leaders with DMR saw a familiar scene in Pass Christian. A jammed packed room filled with residents. Some were angry, others confused.

"What assurances do we have that what is currently a voluntary program is not going to become a mandatory program by FEMA who is going to say, oh you didn't take advantage of the buyout opportunity so your now not going to be able to participate in the national flood insurance program," questioned one resident.

While many had their concerns, all wanted their opinions to be heard.

Dozens of residents filled the old Pass Christian library, just one of the many buildings that sustained major damage from Hurricane Katrina. While the buyout proposes to protect homes and businesses, several people who attended prior meetings say they don't want to see the plan in Pass Christian.

However leaders say it's only a proposal* and they want to make sure residents understand the plan before* they make up their minds.

"One, there's no money in it. We don't have a penny to buy anything even if you wanted to sell it to us tomorrow, we don't any have any money to pay you. Second and most important, most important is, it's a voluntary program," said Bill Walker with the Department of Marine Resources.

Walker says the program is not about the government taking anyone's property. What it is about, is assisting homeowners who have property in low-lying areas who can't afford to rebuild. But the majority of the people who came to the Pass Christian meeting believe the plan will only create more turmoil in a city that's already struggling.

There are two more meetings scheduled for this month. On October 25th Harrison County residents will meet about the buyout. The meeting will be at the Gulfport Courthouse at six o'clock. Jackson County residents will meet at Ocean Springs Middle School at 6:30 on October 30th.