NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
It always amazes me when people buy or build a home next to a farm and complain of the odor, or buy or build a home on a major highway and complain about the traffic, or buy or build a home in a flood-prone area and then expect taxpayers to bail them out when water inevitably damages their homes.
Of all the ways our tax dollars are wasted, one of the worst has to be Beach House Welfare.
In Beach House Welfare, people who have the money to afford beachfront or waterfront property receive payments to correct the stupid mistakes they made when they built or bought right on the ocean or in flood plains without taking proper precautions to reduce the risk of flood damages.
Virtually every major storm, for example, you can expect beachfront property owners in South Bethany to have their hands out for taxpayer assistance.
Now comes news that 18 Oak Orchard homeowners who had the foresight to buy or build in the flood plain will now receive a total of $542,000 in federal funding to raise their homes above the flood plain onto standard block foundations or, in a few cases, pilings.
Sussex County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 1999, to administer the funding, which will come at taxpayer expense.
Councilman George Cole, who owns waterfront property himself, did at least find the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program that provides this assistance disturbing.
"You take a risk when you build homes in these locations," he said. "The homeowners should assume the risk."
Especially when they didn't bother to build their homes properly to the damage in the first place.
You can voice your opinion on whether taxpayers should pay for repairs to homes in flood-prone areas in the Sussex County Online Forum or vote on the issue in our online poll. Just follow the links below to make your voice heard and your vote count:
You can keep track of how much money the presidential candidates have raised, spent and have left at http://www.opensecrets.org/2000elect/index/AllCands.htm on the opensecrets.org web site from the Center for Responsive Politics. The page provides a graphical look at the candidates' fund-raising and spending habits as well as a table showing their figures.
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