Panama City looking to apply for Voluntary Home Buyout Program

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The City of Panama City is looking at potentially applying for more opportunities to provide residents relief from Hurricane Michael.

According to a press release from the city of Panama City, The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has allocated nearly $28 million to its Hurricane Michael Voluntary Home Buyout program.

If the city applies for the program, it will allow it to purchase property at the pre-Michael fair market value, for both the land and the house.

The city said the homes purchased will be demolished and the property will be held for conservation, recreation, or stormwater management purposes.

READ MORE: Flood prone homeowners could face tough decisions

Participation in the program is voluntary, but Panama City city manager Mark McQueen said he hopes it will be a help for residents who are still dealing with severely damaged homes.

“This an important way for them to be able to sell that property because that property has been damaged repeatedly from flooding or the hurricane and it’s difficult to sell that property as a result of it,” McQueen said.

City officials said they have not yet been granted funding from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. They said they must identify potential applicants that might want to voluntarily sell and their specific addresses so staff can complete the acquisition once funding is awarded.

There will be a public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Bay District Schools’ Nelson building, at 6 p.m. to discuss program details and address questions.

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