SAN MARCOS, TEXAS - The City of San Marcos is working to determine how to best use $25 million in federal flood relief funds, more than one year after flooding damaged parts of the community.
Residents in the Blanco Gardens Subdivision were some of the hardest hit from the flooding in May and October 2015.
“We were the only people – we’d look outside and it was just dark. It was pretty sad, cause we knew all the people around us and they were shocked what happened to them, said resident Johnnie Rosales, who has lived in the area for 25 years.
Rosales raised his home after the 1998 flood. Water did not make its way inside in 2015, but he still lost $10,000 in belongings.
He told KVUE realtors have come to his door to ask if he's interested in selling his home. While he turns them away, he said others have expressed interest in moving away due to the possible costs associated with raising their homes.
Rosales participated in the public input process in which the city asked how it should spend $25 million in Housing and Urban Development grant money. He hopes the city uses the federal funds to raise homes like he did nearly 20 years ago.
“I would like to see them buy out the neighborhood and turn this into parkland, said James Molnoskey, who lives down the street from Rosales. “So unfortunately they're starting to raise houses, and they're spending more to raise the houses than the houses are worth.”
Molnoskey had tens of thousands in damage to his home. He told KVUE he makes too much money to qualify for certain assistance programs, but not enough to pay out-of-pocket to afford some of the repairs he needs. Ideally, he would prefer a dam built to help protect the neighborhood, but acknowledged that would cost far more than the $25 million allotted.
San Marcos Assistant City Manager Collette Jamison said they’ve received varied public opinion on how to best use the money.
“We do have a deadline to use these funds. So we have to pick projects and programs - housing programs as well - that need to be done within six years,” Jamison said. She said the $25 million only represents a fraction of the $116 city officials estimate will be needed to return San Marcos back to its pre-flood status. With that in mind, they are still applying for other state, regional and federal grants to try and assist in the flood recovery.
Jamison added Texas received $50 million in federal flood relief funds, and they hope part of that money will go towards Hays County for regional projects that San Marcos could participate in. She added they hope to put the plan into action in November.
City officials plan to review the public input at a meeting Tuesday evening, and send their proposals to HUD by the end of the week. From there, HUD has 45 days to respond with any questions or comments on the proposals.
Go here to learn more about the action plan.
(© 2016 KVUE)