Emotions run high at a special Sunday City Council meeting about flooding
AUSTIN, Texas— A very emotional city council gathering Sunday at City Hall, as a special meeting was called to address flood recovery efforts.
Council members did make some moves to help residents in the flood-affected areas. They approved to extend the local state of disaster for 30 days. They also approved waiving permit and development fees for flood damaged properties that are safe to repair or rebuild.
But the hot button issue Sunday was the buyouts on properties in the 25 and 100-year flood plains.
“How many floods do we have to go through? How many lives have to be lost? You know, you hear about the flood plains, Onion Creek is not 100-year or 25, It should be considered the two-year flood plain. Because that’s how we feel,” one resident said.
Dozens took their turn to speak, many with the same message.
“Please, get these people out now, no more games. That's it,” a concerned woman said.
Many residents were upset about the fact this has happened to them twice in two years. “We have people that have lost everything again, and we are sitting here begging for you all to come and help.”
City officials said 585 homes have been bought out to date in the Onion Creek area. At least 270 properties are left to be acquired, most of those with people still living in them. In the Williamson Creek buyout, there are 63 properties left to acquire.
City officials said the purchases of the remaining properties are caught up in various stages of the buyout process, but they are taking steps in the right direction of getting people out.
The ordinance approved Sunday, helps affected residents financially.
“It doesn't speed it up as much as it allows them more flexibility in the process. So they will be able to have more money to spend on the process,” said Laurine Rizer, the Officer of Real Estate for the City of Austin.
The new ordinance doesn't help with time, which is something concerned residents said they are running out of.
“Weather is going to be wetter than normal. If I have to come back here and show you all the lives that have been lost because of your lack of movement, I’ll be here, but you know what I am going to tell you all, I told you all so."
City officials tell FOX 7 they are taking steps to try to help speed up the buy-out process.
There is another community meeting Monday night at Perez Elementary that several city council members will be attending. This will be an open house style meeting for those affected by flooding that starts at 6:30p.m.