County residents encouraged to apply for potential Florence buyouts

County residents encouraged to apply for potential Florence buyouts

Officials with Lenoir County Emergency Services are seeking county residents whose residences or structures were damaged during Hurricane Florence. Those affected residents could potentially receive a buyout of their property, similar to the ones that took place after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

“What we’re trying to do is gather information at this point for people who might be interested in a potential buyout,” Lenoir County Emergency Planner Samuel Kornegay said. “We’re gathering that information so we can formulate our data and statistics to show there is a need here in Lenoir County for another buyout.”

County residents are encouraged to visit the LCES office, 200 Rhodes Ave, Kinston, to fill out an application; residents can also call the office at 252-559-1911. The deadline to complete the application is Jan. 15.

“It’s not guaranteed; there’s no money allocated for the program or for the projects yet,” Kornegay said. “We’re just trying to gather information at this point so we can show there’s a need here.”

There are still 83 properties in Lenoir County that are going through the buyout process from Hurricane Matthew, which struck in 2016. While that may seem disconcerting, it’s also a positive for potential Florence buyouts, since the process is so fresh in the minds of officials.

“We’re in the stages of partnering residents up with lawyers, land surveyors and appraisers,” Kornegay said of the Matthew buyouts. “This is a process – while we’re trying to wrap up one, we’re also gearing up to start another one. We hope this will be a quicker process since we’ve already gone through the same thing for Hurricane Matthew and the structure is already set in place.”

While there is no guarantee a new buyout will happen, Kornegay said it’s important for his office to be able to show state and federal officials there is a need for it to happen in Lenoir County.

“I want to reiterate that nothing is guaranteed but we need the information to show we have a need,” Kornegay said. “The more information we have, hopefully the more we can get for our residents.”

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