Onion Creek residents to take flood-buyout questions to city leaders

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin will buyout dozens of properties damaged by the Halloween flooding. But some people living in the affected areas in the southeast part of the city have concerns with the process. Several of them plan to speak at Thursday’s city council meeting.

In the Onion Creek neighborhood, the city’s current plans show it will buy more than 116 properties. Some living there, though, think the plans need another look. And they want city leaders to hear their voices.

In early March, the city got word the federal government would give nearly $12 million to help with buyouts. It was good news for many owners of the properties the city plans to buy. But, some aren’t so sure.

“I have flood insurance. I’ve paid it for 20 years,” said Onion Creek resident Tim Boss. “I’ve been told that’s all going to be deducted from my buyout program, which makes no sense at all.  So, I want to go down there and ask them personally on that.”

Boss says other neighbors will be at the council meeting. At a neighborhood meeting this week, they discussed which concerns to take to city leaders, but the scope is broad.

“There’s a group of people down here that love it down here and really want to stay,” said resident Susan Willard. “There’s also a group that really wants to be bought out.”

Willard has lived in the neighborhood 14 years. Go or stay, she says, it’s easier said than done.

“[I] love the neighborhood. It’s beautiful down here. [I] love the parkland, the greenbelt–it’s great,” she said.

One item on the council’s agenda is to have the city manager take a closer look the current  buyout plans and process.

The Onion Creek neighborhood and surrounding areas also experienced serious flooding in 1998 and 2001. The city has purchased more than 300 homes since 1999. Federal funding may be used to begin these new buyouts. But It may not be enough to buy all of the homes.

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