Politics

The head of the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District says the city should contribute funding to a proposed long-term buyout program for homes that are frequently flooding.

The Metro Council is considering a resolution to ask MSD to set aside up to $2 million for a buyout program. The resolution was assigned to a committee on Thursday.

MSD director Greg Heitzman said he plans address the Metro Council when the resolution is discussed in committee.

MSD is also already carrying out a short-term $1-million quick buyout program, which will be wrapping up this fall.

Metro Council members Angela Leet (R-7), Kelly Downard (R-16), Dan Johnson (D-21) and Madonna Flood (D-24) introduced a resolution this week that requests MSD solely take on the costs of a long-term buyback program.

This spring, several Louisville homeowners were flooded out of their houses during severe storms.  Some of the damaged houses are barred by a city rule from further repairs.

Heitzman said it would be in Louisville’s best interest to get money from as many sources as possible — and that includes the city budget.

“They would have MSD funding the entire flood mitigation program,” he said. “This is a community-wide issue and we need all the resources available to us.”

Heitzman also argued that city funds would draw federal money for buyouts.

“So, it is so important for us to speak with unified voice with respect to solving this community-wide problem,” he said.

In June, a flood mitigation workgroup that included both MSD official and metro council members recommended that Metro government also pitch in money to home buyout programs.

But Mayor Greg Fischer’s office and some council members have said handling flooding issues is MSD’s responsibility because the agency already deals with flooding, sewers and stormwater systems.

In a recent interview, Councilwoman Leet agreed.

“They have the expertise because this is what they do every day,” she told WFPL News. “They deal with our common sewer overflows. They deal with our sanitary sewers. They deal with our storm sewers.”

Heitzman said 15 homeowners have already accepted buyout deals under the on-going program.