HEARTLAND FLOOD: Drenched Pacific Junction faces uncertain future

PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa (WOWT) -- The spring floods landed on Pacific Junction like a hammer and for some of the people chased out of their homes, recovery is a massive challenge.

Signs of destruction are still all over town and many of the people who used to live there are considering a FEMA buyout if the city authorizes that option.

Of the approximately 220 homes there, 150 of the owners like the idea of FEMA buying them out.

Homeowner and City Councilman Jack Scroggs said, “There's going to be enough people that won't rebuild that it won't support the town. I think the town's going to be in trouble."

Scroggs and his wife have been living at an RV park in Glenwood since March. He owns several properties in Pacific Junction and says the damage is too much. He can't afford to start all over.

“To rebuild, with all the regulations they've got, it's just not feasible for me."

Jack signed up for the buyout but whether or not it becomes an option is yet to be determined.

Pacific Junction Mayor Andy Young said, “The FEMA buyouts turn my town into one large park. It becomes green space and we don't need that green space."

Mayor Young fears FEMA buyouts could leave his town without the money it needs to survive.

"You lose your school tax, you lose your city tax. That runs the city. And the county loses its money. And then the city has to maintain it for the rest of its existence."

The mayor wants to wait and see what happens with the more than $19 billion in federal disaster relief announced earlier this month. He said there might be an option for owners to deed their property to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Young said, “They, at some point, if their land’s not sold and they change their minds, turn around and buy it back. If they see their neighbors are rebuilding and they want to come home."

The mayor says it will ultimately be up to city council to decide whether to clear the way for those buyouts from FEMA. When that vote might happen is unclear.

The mayor is meeting with FEMA on Thursday. He hopes to get more details about what FEMA buyouts would entail for the people and for the city as a whole.