A year and a half after the flood, more than two dozen residents of Cedar Rapids have become the first in the city to accept buyout offers. The city mailed out 62 buyout offers this week. So far, 28 have accepted those offers, 13 are in the process of accepting, 10 have rejected the buyout offer and 11 have not responded. Brandon Slaymaker could receive about $29,000 from FEMA for his home on Third Street Northwest.
“It’s kind of nice for it just to be over so we can move on and get everything taken care of,” Slaymaker said. “We’re just happy to be done with all the paperwork and everything we had to go through to get it.” Several of Slaymaker’s neighbors also accepted the city’s offer to buy them out. Cedar Rapids Flood Recovery Director Greg Eyerly says city officials are happy to see people reach this stage of the recovery process.
“It’s been a lot of hard work for city staff. They’ve walked through this process with homeowners every step of the way and they feel a lot of the emotions,” Eyerly said. Over the next few months, hundreds of other properties will move through the system. “We’re working a lot of the bugs out of the system. So, there are a lot of lessons learned through these first couple of acquisitions,” Eyerly said. Slaymaker says he’s relieved to know he won’t have to pay taxes or insurance for a house where he and his family no longer live. The family has purchased a new home and plans to spend the holidays there together.
The city could officially take ownership of some properties by the end of January. Then, once the weather warms up, they’ll start demolishing the houses.
By Mark Geary, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids