Full buyout looks promising for flood victims

By Michelle Costanza

May 13, 2013 Updated May 13, 2013 at 9:56 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Dozens of local residents may get the extra flood funding for which they've been asking for nearly two years.

Following the flood, the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to pay 75 percent of funding for buyouts in Vestal. The remaining 25 percent was left up to residents, equating to nearly $1.3 million. That's a hefty cost to pay on top of tear-down and appraising fees, officials said.

Though the decision is yet to be official, state legislators learned today there's a good chance the state will foot the remainder of the bill not covered by FEMA.

"What changed was Sandy. The devastation was so massive down in New York City, they said oh we're going to send 100 percent of the money there. But they reassessed; we had two storms before that- they considered Lee and Sandy, and realized these people in our area are hurting too," said Vestal Town Supervisor John Schaffer.

The federal funds would assist the 59 homeowners in Vestal, as well as other hard-hit communities, such as Owego and town of Union, leaving residents free of the financial burden.

"It's the best news I've heard since I've been supervisor," Schaffer said. "They said proceed with everything you're going to do, the money will be there at closing. That is great, great news."

Schaffer added if the full buyout becomes reality, bids on the tear-downs will go soon and be completed by July. Vestal plans to offer people in the neighborhood a chance to rent the vacated properties for $1. The land comes with a building prohibition, but would be available for non-permanent structures like gardens or above-ground swimming pools.

An official announcement concerning the buyout is expected from the Governor in the upcoming week.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.