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Lake City families wait for county's decision on flooded homes

12:09 AM, Sep 7, 2012   |    comments
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LAKE CITY, Fla. -- Local homeowners are still frustrated and stuck in limbo.

They say Columbia County agreed to buy their flood-damaged homes, but Columbia County commissioners say they are not in the business of buying flooded homes.

"I'm extremely disappointed. I'm hurt," Michael Williams said. "It's hard to even put it into words how it feels to be lied to, to be betrayed."

"I never made you a promise to buy your home," Scarlet Frisina, a Columbia County commissioner, said at Thursday's meeting.

In June, during Tropical Storm Debby, Williams' Lake City home was flooded and severly damaged.

"There's mold growth in the house," Williams said. "It is in unhabitable condition at best."

Williams was ready to rebuild when Columbia County told him they planned to buy six flood-damaged homes, including his, under a stormwater mitigation program.

After moving his family of eight into another home, Williams received a letter received a letter from the County Commission chairman that said a final decision cannot be made at this time.

"It was stated to us in front of all the homeowners, their spouses, some of their children, and  even some legal council I brought that it would not have to go to a vote," Williams said.
 
At Thursday's meeting, the county manager said the plan is not finalized, but admitted there may have been confusion regarding whether the purchases were a done deal.

"I don't understand why there may have been confusion because the words were very blatant to me," Williams said.

The commission decided more information is needed before any decision can be made, leaving Williams and five other families displaced and displeased.

Williams said the meeting tonight was his last chance and with no resolution from the commission he said he will now be pursing legal action.

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