MALONE — An attempt to secure federal buyouts for nine flood-damaged homes on Lower Park Street recently cleared the first hurdle.
Town Supervisor Howard Maneely told Town Council members this week that their request under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program of the State Office of Emergency Services was approved and forwarded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for action.
“We’ll get $750,000 to cover the cleanup,” he said.
When a presidential disaster was declared due to Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012, Malone became eligible to apply for disaster relief on behalf of homeowners in the 300 block of Lower Park whose properties have sustained flood damage from the Salmon River for years.
Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost took the lead in the application process and at the same time folded in a county request for relief funds to fix flood-damaged Duane Street Road between Hicks Road and Cox Road.
If FEMA approves of the town/county application — seen as a way to protect safety and public health — the agency would reimburse property owners 75 percent of their property loss.
The other 25 percent would have to come from the municipality, in-kind services, donated materials or the owners themselves.
The application, which can be a two-year process, covers nine homes, but there is a 10th house there whose owners have refused to participate in the buyout process.
Officials have said that if an owner does not comply, the county and town could call in code-enforcement officers to condemn the home as unlivable so it can be torn down with the others.
This section of Malone has flooded for more than 17 years after a downstream dam near Titus Mountain Family Ski Center was removed, sending tons of sediment and silt into the river.
The accumulation of material on the river bottom has reduced the water level in most areas of the Salmon to just a few inches; it used to be several feet deep there.
January 2013 flooding was caused by a 4,000-foot ice jam that blocked the river’s flow for two weeks before breaking free.
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