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County continues to discuss buyout program

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Travis County officials say they've received at least 45 applications for home buy outs in the area outside of Austin damaged by the October 31 flood. County commissioners have identified $2.4 million for the buyout program. They're still waiting to hear if they will get funds from FEMA.

Pete Baldwin, Travis County Emergency Management Coordinator said, "They came in and looked at it and found about 800 homes that had been impacted throughout the area."

That's fewer than the 1,200 homes local agencies estimated were damaged, but FEMA's assessment actually came up with more homes that were severely damaged or destroyed, which could help the chances of getting federal aid.

Business owner Les Juliano owns a vehicle storage facility on Brandy Road that flooded. He estimates there was at least $500,000 in damage done to vehicles on the property. But, despite that damage, businesses are the last in line to be bought out.

"The businesses are the ones hit first. How does it make sense to buy the houses that are behind me half a mile away from Onion Creek when I'm in front of it and the first one to get hit?" Juliano asked.

County staff explains that any funds from FEMA have to go to those who lost homes first.

County commissioners are also working to find funding to repair the more than $1.7 million in estimated damage to roads and county property.

"We've got to get our infrastructure back in place. We've got to get things repaired, so, yes, it is tough."

County staff will determine a total cost of the buyout applications then commissioners will decide how many homes will be bought and if businesses will be included.

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