Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Pass The Buck, Please

Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard says he would

...never sign on to a plan letting owners of homes damaged during Hurricane Katrina apply for buyouts at pre-storm market value or renovation grants if the deal excluded those who suffered minor flooding.
How convienent for him. After all, it was because he evacuated the pump operators ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Katrina that thousands of homes in Jefferson Parish flooded.

Should the provision include those homes that received less than two feet of water, Broussard would conceivably be "off the hook" for his culpablility.

Besides, why the two foot level for eligibility. The fact of the matter is there is little difference in damage between 18 inches and 24 inches. When the water level reaches the electrical outlets (typicall mounted 18 inches above finish floor), all the outlets effected must be replaced. This water level usually will also get into the A/C compressor requiring replacement. And if the homeowner installed a vertically mounted air-handling unit (AHU) that will most likely be replacing.

If, however, the water level did not reach the electrical outlets, it is possible that only the flooring, cabinets, some plumbing fixtures, and gypsum wallboard or plaster to a height of four feet need to be replaced. That is assuming that the home was able to be gutter in time to abate the spreading of mold above that height. And since many homeowners or their contractors were unable to gain access to their homes or floodwaters lingered for an extended amount of time, mold had spread above four feet requiring that most or all gypsum wallboard or plaster to be replaced.

If this is the case, they will not qualify for the Community Development Block Grants though the cost to repair the damage is similar.

So while Aaron Broussard's position on the Community Development Block Grants is the correct one, let's not forget the reason so many were left homeless in the first place.

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