Vestal Buyouts: A Costly Move

By Erika Mahoney

December 6, 2012 Updated Dec 7, 2012 at 9:23 AM EST

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A couple from Vestal, victims of last year's flood, finally receive the phone call they have waiting on for months.

FEMA will buyout their home, along with 60 others in the town. Its great news for Megan Ferree and Zach Burczynski, but it's coming at a cost.

FEMA will cover 75 percent of the costs, leaving this young couple to front the rest. And they already pumped tens of thousands of dollars into their home to make it livable after the waters receded.

"I'd say close to $50,000, because the whole house was ripped down, there was nothing," said Burczynski.

The couple moved in January 2011, only to see it completely destroyed months later.

"We had four feet of water in our home," said Ferree. "So it was a lot of our own money, just to replace the furniture and our possessions. That's obviously money we are never getting back."

And now, just to leave, the music teacher and graphic designer are going to have to shell out more.

"You know, a lot of people are like, just do the FEMA buyout and pack up and go," said Burczynski. "It's not that easy, you know, it's only 75 percent."

The rest is on them. The Town of Vestal simply doesn't have the money.

"We don't have the 25 percent that FEMA is short changing the people that have been hit by this tragedy," said Vestal Town Supervisor John Schaffer. "I am going to meet with the governor next week and I am going to ask, if you are trying to bridge the gap with the people of New York City, why aren't you trying to bridge the gap with the people of the Triple Cities. We were hit first, and it hit everybody hard."

Residents in the Town of Union won't have it nearly as hard, thanks to a $10 million federal grant that has been filled.

While Burczynski and Ferree wish this was the case for them, they said they are both ready and eager to move on.

"I know it's going to be kind of stressful, moving forward, but it's definitely for the better," said Burczynski.

Not wasting any time, their house search starts Saturday.

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