Northland Regional Council says it wants to be sure it is doing the right thing before spending any money in Kaeo.
Flood victims are facing their third winter in damaged homes since a series of floods in 2007.
They are waiting for help to lift or move their houses - a cost not covered by insurance.
Before committing any funds, the council wants to complete a computer model of the flood plain and buy higher ground in Kaeo for people to move to.
Chief executive Ken Paterson says computer modelling of the Kaeo flood plain should be ready in three months.
Flood victims say it is already too late to fix the houses before winter.