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      Hannibal flood buyouts becoming a reality

      As Marion County residents continue to wait for a disaster declaration for the 2010 flash floods, there is hope for victims from the 2008 floods. Residents are just weeks away from hearing the official word on the 2008 flood buyouts, but many aren't buying into the news just yet.

      "What are we feeling right now? It may happen, it may not, don't know," said Mike Maddox, who's waited for the 2008 buyout for two years. "The city made a lot of promises in 2008. Said they'd get right on it. 2009, they said we'll get it done. Now it's 2010 and they're saying the same thing. It's going on two years, we're kind of used to it."

      Hannibal's City Manager Jeff LaGarce isn't happy either. He submitted two residential buyout grant applications for the city back in 2009. But that was twenty months ago. Flood victims say had the buyouts came when promised, they'd be long gone.

      "For right now, we're staying here. It's hard to buy a house and find a house if you don't know how much your property is being bought out for."

      LaGarce says no one is happy about the timeline, but when it comes to getting help, the county's on FEMA's timeline. He expects an official grant notification by the end of September. But the money won't come right away.

      "If we receive a notice of an award, we won't get a check in the mail. What we'll receive is a notice of an award and we'll have to actually start administering projects, we'll have to appraise properties, and do environmental scans," said LaGarce.

      LaGarce said the grant applies to 27 families amounting to more than $970,000. That still leaves more than a hundred people out of the equation.

      "We'll go to D.C. to picket for help. They're going overseas, which that's fine. I understand and my heart goes out to them but they need to help their own country first. We're just as bad off as they are," said Melissa Robinson.

      We asked City Manager Jeff LaGarce about the potential for a 2010 flood buyout. He says now that we know the 2008 grant's moving along, he'll be speaking with FEMA about pursuing a 2010 grant.