FEMA buyback programs pose threats to regional and local economies

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 11 p.m. on Saturday
Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 8:48 PM EST
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FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - With FEMA offering buyback programs for certain properties after numerous flooding events across Eastern Kentucky, officials fear negative economic impacts could follow.

In Floyd County, Judge-Executive Robbie Williams said around 100 property owners will participate in FEMA’s buyback program.

He added many of these participants will not return to the region, which may cause a steep population drop.

This drop in population is said to have a “ripple effect” throughout the entire region.

“The loss of revenue, the loss of work time, the money that people were out, the resources that we have to expend to fix these roads and get these people back in their home, keep them fed, and do the things that we need to do,” said Judge Williams. ”... It’s a ripple effect throughout our entire economy. Not just Floyd County, but our region as a whole.”

Williams also added in areas hit more severely by flooding, such as Knott and Breathitt counties, there are many more participants in FEMA’s buyback program when compared to Floyd County.