The first two home buyouts needed to make way for flood protection closed this past week, according to the law firm handling the buyouts for the City of Minot and Ward County.
Both buyouts were in Minot.
John Warcup, attorney with Swanson & Warcup, said it is uncertain how long it will take to complete all the transactions. He estimated in the neighborhood of 130 properties are part of the voluntary buyout process.
Homeowners pursuing voluntary buyouts had opportunities to present information to the city if dissatisfied with the pre-flood value placed on their homes. Those unable to resolve disagreements to their satisfaction had the option of appealing to a local committee. Fewer than 10 percent of city homeowners appealed, Warcup estimated. Some homeowners decided not to sell during the course of the process or following the appeal. One homeowner who completed the appeal process has opted to go to district court, he said.
The next step once buyouts are finalized will be to demolish houses on the properties.
The Minot City Council will consider amending a contract with its consultants, CDM Smith, to include help with monitoring the demolition process. City finance director Cindy Hemphill said monitoring is required because of the environmental assessments and other regulations that must be followed in the process.
The city also will start writing the specifications to be able to advertise for bids to remove houses. Hemphill said once the city awards a bid, it will work with the contractor to determine a schedule for the demolitions. She said there is a possibility of completing demolitions before the end of the year.