After five years, Alexander County homeowners begin flood buyout

Like many homeowners in Alexander County, Vella Friedman waited five years for a buyout.

"This picture is the front of the house. It has sandbags all the way around it," said Friedman, who showed Local 6 pictures from Flood 2011.

Her home of 23 years had more than a foot of water in it. She applied for a buyout in 2011, but just got word her paperwork is moving forward. "We are finally seeing movement on it. Although, it’s a snail’s pace," she said.

The state’s budget impasse froze any efforts to continue the buyout, which meant more than 100 homes sat empty. The goal is to eventually tear them down. Friedman’s home is on the list.

"We started this buyout project specifically in 2011 thinking a year, two years maybe. We didn’t have an inclination it would take this long," Friedman told Local 6.

Homeowners have three options: Not take the buyout and stay, stay and elevate their homes or take the buyout and move.

Friedman hopes to move out by the end of the year, but there is no guarantee. She’s waiting on the state’s attorney general to send her a check. She’s already lost out on moving into several homes in nearby Missouri.

"We understand why the people couldn’t accept our contract, because we couldn’t give them a date when we were going to be able to settle," she said. 

The county is taking bids on demolishing nine homes after approving 12 properties. There are 111 more properties under consideration for a buyout.

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