Illinois budget tiff means more flood damage before buyouts

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Dozens of southern Illinois families who by now expected to live in new homes after agreeing to government buyouts following a 2011 Mississippi River flood instead got socked a second time by more recent floods amid the prolonged political fight over the state’s budget. Alexander County officials estimate that several dozen homes approved for buyouts suffered further damage from early-winter floods that toppled levees on the Mississippi and its tributaries in Missouri and Illinois in late December and early January. Officials say roughly one dozen of those homes were occupied at the time. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources in June suspended a buyout program in which the state agreed to provide a 25 percent match to $9 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.