Mayor: Buyouts will have 'devastating effect' on Princeville
Posted 9:50 p.m. Thursday
Updated 10:12 p.m. Thursday
Princeville, N.C. — The floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew receded long ago, but residents in Princeville have hardly started repairing their lives.
Residents can drive down some streets in Princeville and never see another person. Doors and windows are open and, inside, homes are empty.
“It’s a ghost town,” said resident Katherine Bullock.
Bullock’s house sits just high enough so that, compared to neighbors, the flood damage to her home from Hurricane Matthew is minimal.
“Have faith and you can make it through anything,” she said.
Those with homes that did not make it through the storm made their way to a meeting Thursday night to find out their options going forward.
Tiffany Parker with North Carolina Emergency Management told homeowners that damaged homes can be elevated, reconstructed as they were or they can opt to have the home bought out by the government.
“The land has to remain open for the rest of the life of the land,” Parker explained of what happens after the buyout.
Town officials will decide how many of the options will be made available to residents. Mayor Bobbie Jones said they will listen to what the people of Princeville have to say, but he believes buyouts would deplete the town’s already small tax base.
“If we decide to allow individuals to participate in the buyout, it will have a devastating effect on the town of Princeville,” Jones said.
Whatever is decided, officials said it could take as long as a year and a half for things to get back to normal in the town.
Residents also want something done about the dike in town, as it is their defense against future floods. Princeville leaders want it extended and heightened and will meet with the Army Corp of Engineers next week.