Officials urging flood victims to take a payout while they can

Omaha, Neb. (WOWT) Officials in Mills County are warning flood victims to take the money now while you have a chance.

Mills County Leaders meet to discuss buyout options and how to protect their county.

There are about 65 flood victims in the county wanting a FEMA buyout and another dozen or so still trying to decide what to do.

Rick Rodriguez knows it's a tough decision to make. “Difficult decision, I mean I teetered back and forth for a bit,” said Rodriguez. But once he knew FEMA was basing their payouts on assessed value, he opted out.

“There's a big difference between assessed value and market value,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said they just finished paying off their mortgage, so he's putting in the time and money to make this homework.

“I just don't see it being worth my time, I can rebuild and still have a place to live,” said Rodriguez.

But county officials, say it’s a huge risk.
“We are scared for what next spring is going to be,” said Mills County Supervisor, Carol Vinton.

She said they're hoping the floodwaters stay at bay, but they can't ignore what's happening with the dams.

“As we can see what's happening up north; what's up there has to come down,” said Vinton.

Right now FEMA is assessing properties based on what they were worth before getting flooded, but it's a one-chance deal.

Anyone who says no to a buyout now and then wants to take a buyout next time around will get their property assessed based on its condition during this year’s flooding.

“It will be on when it was flooded, which will be devastating, it will be practically zip,” said Vinton.

It's a risk Rick Rodriguez knows he's taking.

“It's a gamble yeah it's huge,” said Rodriguez."It's not just our home it's our entire life. it's everything we've worked for up this point that we're gambling with."