WHITESBORO, N.Y. --- Whitestown Town Supervisor Shaun Kaleta said the hot housing market threatens to further complicate the Whitesboro flood mitigation project.
In response to severe flooding as a result of the 2019 Halloween Storm, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering the Floodplain Easement Component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP-FPE) to landowners of residential properties in the Village of Whitesboro within the designated project area.
Back in September, local and state representatives announced the $20 million that was allocated to the town of Whitestown and the village of Whitesboro.
Once NRCS knows how many people have accepted their offer, the homes get posted on a map to decide how and if to move forward. As the goal of the project is to restore the area to its natural state, all of the homes would need to be demolished.
But the area's hot housing market threatens to complicate the process. Some people are deciding not to wait for the buyout and trying to sell their homes in the housing market to try and get a higher price.
Kaleta said the success of the mitigation project relies on a majority of homeowners accepting the buyouts and not selling them on their own.
"It's important for there to be a good level of buy-in to this program. There were upwards of 200 applications. We certainly need enough folks who are going to want to say yes to their offer so we don't have a situation where half of the homes want out and the other half want to stay," said Kaleta.
Many people including Whitesboro resident Karen Hughs, continue to anxiously wait to see what the federal government will offer. Hughs tells NEWSChannel2 she understands why some of her neighbors may be impatient.
"Some people think they might be able to get more money selling it on their own instead of waiting for the buyout. Because none of us know what we are going to be offered," said Hughs.
Kaleta said buyout offers could start to be given out as early as the end of this year.