Horry County Council holds off on supporting proposed statewide flood resilience fund

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County leaders decide to wait before supporting an expanded buyout program for people living in flood-prone areas.

The debris after floods from Hurricane Florence are gone, but the federal money for many people looking to leave homes in flood-prone areas hasn’t arrived.

“The county gets reimbursed a lot of their expenses that are caused by hurricanes and bad weather,” said Horry County Council chair Johnny Gardner. “It takes us years to get that money. Imagine if we could streamline that process.”

That’s why state lawmakers are trying to create what’s called a “resilience revolving fund.” It would pay for the rest of the cost of a flood-prone home that isn’t covered under FEMA’s buyout program, which only accounts for up to 75% of a house’s value.

The proposed state fund would give grants and small loans to cover the other 25%.

“The money goes from FEMA to the state government, trickles down to the counties, and so forth,” Gardner said. “We’d like for that to go to Horry County, get this money out to the citizens much quicker, so they don’t have to wait.”

A bill to create the resilience revolving fund passed in the Senate last year and is now in a House’s ways and means committee. County council did not vote for or against a resolution to support the bill Tuesday night.

Gardner says he wants to make sure the fund makes financial sense for the county.

“How to generate the revenue, how to manage that,” he said. “Are we going to own property as a result of that? I don’t think those are the things that the county wants to do. The county wants to do the right thing, but I don’t know if that’s the right thing at this time.”

Council sent the resolution to the county’s administration committee, which meets again on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

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