City surveys homeowners on buyout interest
The City of Minot is surveying homeowners to gauge interest in further voluntary buyouts as part of developing a spending plan for Community Development Community Block Grant-Disaster Recovery dollars.
The action plan for the second CDBG-DR grant of $35 million proposes for Minot to spend $12.89 million on acquisitions.
Last Friday, the city’s consultant, CDM Smith, mailed 276 surveys to homeowners in the valley to gather information related to the proposed acquisitions.
Bob Batherson, CDM Smith vice president, said getting a survey isn’t a guarantee of a purchase offer. Rather, the survey is designed to help identify homeowners who may be interested in selling if an offer is made. The survey also will help ensure that the city meets the guidelines for CDBG-DR funding.
Batherson explained that the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department wants funding targeted largely to low- to moderate-income groups. The city’s first round of CDBG-DR dollars came with a requirement that half go to benefit low- to moderate income groups.
“In many places in the United States, it’s easy to divide the monies and make sure they go to low- and moderate-income. However, in Minot, the demographics being what they are, it’s really difficult to qualify as a low- and moderate-income person because of the oil jobs and the economic factors associated with the Bakken,” Batherson said.
Because the city wants all homeowners flooded in 2011 to benefit from the grant funding, it seeks to exempt the buyout program from income requirements that could exclude some homeowners, Batherson said. The surveys could provide information to support the city in its exemption request.
Although the city has set no deadline for returning the surveys, CDM Smith is expecting that people will return the forms within the next couple of weeks. The surveys take only a few minutes to complete and come with self-addressed, stamped envelopes for return.
Any questions or concerns about the survey can be directed to CDM Smith at 837-5813, or the city public information office at 500-7503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, the action plan for the CDBG-DR released by the city last week included errors in two maps showing buyout areas. The maps incorrectly identified some homes, specifically in the Green Valley Area, as needing to be acquired. The city is reviewing the properties and will publish new maps as soon as verification is finished.