By Jeanne Sexton-Brown
The city council has decided to move forward with the buyouts that have been pending since the 2009 flood. The idea was long in coming and first presented to the city in a public meeting at Lisbon Middle School gym Monday, Jan. 31. At last week’s city council meeting Irv Rustad, Executive Director at Lake Agassiz Regional Development Corporation who was hired by the city to work with FEMA on the buyouts issue, reported to the council that the appraisals had been completed. The paperwork was sent to FEMA for approval Monday, March 7.
Once the offers are given, the homeowners have 30 days to respond. Some of those in the buyouts the city wants, have received their offers. There was conversation that some of the home owners may not accept the offers. In order for the city to buyout the homes they are looking at, the city would need to take out a construction loan the first year and then go to special assessment after that. The council discussed the need to be sure of the cost. They can not go too low or too high, it is a difficult decision according to Mayor Cole to make the right choice.
Mayor Cole asked the council, “Is everyone in agreement to go forward with the buyouts?” The consensus was to move forward. Meyer, Johnson, and Gemar on one committee from last week came up with five homes that shouldn’t be allowed to go back to FEMA. The five homes the city wants to purchase will cost $368,638. Two of the homes, Randy Seelig’s crew could take down. Of the five three may be saleable. One home that had not been on the list for the city to purchase, was the Stueber home on Fifth Ave. next to the bridge on the north side. They have received $106,000 in flood insurance. The only amount they can be paid now is for the land. Mairs moved, Johnson seconded the motion to offer Stueber’s $3,500 for their lot. Adair, Gemar, Meyer, Waliser, Mairs, and Johnson voted in favor; motion carried.
Meyer made a motion to purchase the following homes: Anderson, M. Hoaby, Lind, Jones, Stroh, and Stueber. Mairs seconded the motion. Gemar, Waliser, Johnson, Adair, Meyer and Mairs voted in favor; the motion carried.
Another area of concern was that as many homes as possible be retained in town. Waliser had looked into city owned lots that could be offered to move the homes onto. There are a few lots on Lincoln street that are owned by the city but those lots have a “finger” of the flood plain going through them. The house would have to be put on the back of the lots and would not be able to have basements. The city also has some lots over behind the industrial park, behind Coops and Teals that would be available. The lots are small. One lot could be offered for free with a second lot being purchased to make it a good size area. Specials would be forgiven on the city lots as well as any lot that would be purchased with in the city in order to keep the houses in town. Johnson made a motion to send the decision back to committee but withdrew his motion.
Mayor Cole was approached by the Veterans Home with a request for the city to give the Loomis house to the Veterans Home for the commandant’s quarters and they would pay the expense to move it. But the Loomis house is not one that the city is looking to buy. It is going to FEMA and all houses have to be auctioned. The city can’t give any away according to FEMA rules.
Bruce Fadness local Realtor and appraiser appeared before the council to ask that he be allowed to handle the auctions since he is familiar with the houses as he did one of the appraisals on each of the buyout homes. He has an auctioneer who will work with him on the auctions. Fadness will do the job for six percent of whatever is made on the sales. Waliser made a motion, seconded by Mairs to have Fadness work on the auctioning off of the houses from the buyout. Johnson, Adair, Mairs, Waliser, Meyer and Gemar voted in favor; motion carried.
The last item of business to deal with in regard to the buyouts is a Resolution of Necessity saying the project is necessary. This is a document the city engineer needs to have ready that is drawn up by the city attorney. It will be published in the Gazette informing the citizens of Lisbon of the plan and giving a deadline for protests to the project. They will have 30 days from the publishing date to file a protest to stop the project of the buyouts and levees. Fifty-one percent of the population of the city of Lisbon must protest the project for it to be halted. Those protests must be submitted in writing by the end of the day Monday, May 2. Adair made the motion, seconded by Gemar to go forward with the Resolution of Necessity. Mairs, Johnson, Adair, Gemar, Meyer and Waliser voted in favor; motion carried.
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