Cass County prepares to offer voluntary buyouts of flooded homes
MOORHEAD - Cass County officials are already preparng for voluntary flood buyouts, even as Round 2 of flooding from the Red, Sheyenne and Wild Rice rivers is yet to come.
"We need to get a jump on this," County Administrator Bonnie Johnson said in a press conference today.
Roughly 100 to 150 homes have received water damage, anywhere from a few feet of water in the basement, to counter level on first floors, County Engi-neer Keith Berndt said.
Up to 20 percent of those homes could have main floor damage, and others could be significantly damaged if first floor joists are damaged by water, he said.
So far, the county has spent $700,000 on sand, sandbags and its emergency operations center, County Auditor Mike Montplaisir said.
However, costs to come include overtime, repairs to roads and flood mitigation efforts, including home buyouts.
Johnson said the county is working with state officials and the Lake Agassiz Regional Council to get the home buyout application process started.
Levees have been shored up in the Chrisan, Maple River and Round Hill areas in preparation for the next crest of the Red River, Berndt said. The National Weather Service predicts the river will rise to between 38 to 40 feet next week.
Berndt said residents should expect the water to get at least as high as 1997.
The county has already used about 3.1 million of the 3.5 million sandbags it's purchased this year, Berndt said.
The county's emergency operations center will ramp up operations Friday, officials said.
Emergency response teams are being positioned around the county with high-wheeled trucks carrying sandbags and medical gear, said Sheriff Paul Laney. There also will be teams with boats or airboats in case residents need to be evacuated during the flood, he said.