The guidelines for the Buyout Program from the Texas General Land Office (GLO) were approved Tuesday by the Commissioners Court for properties damaged from Tropical Storm Harvey in 2017. The Buyout Program has $4 million in grant funds for property owners who sustained damage during the flooding from Harvey.
Grant administrator Beth Eddings with Traylor & Associates explained the guidelines of the program to the Commissioners. The approved guidelines will now be posted for public comments.
Eddings said the guidelines must be posted for at least 30 days before applications can be received. She estimated October 6, 2020 as the date the grants will be open for application from property owners who will then have 60 days to apply for a grant.
After the home owner applies for the buyout program their property will be appraised for the purchase price. The owner will then be eligible for incentives if they meet certain criteria.
The GLO grant incentives cover $5,000 for temporary housing, $10,000 for the purchase of an existing home, and $35,000 for the purchase of another lot with the intent to construct a home on it. The Commissioners Court approved that the incentives would only be applied to those property owners that choose to remain in Orange County and not move away.
The salaries for elected county officials were approved by the Court. Eleven of the officials will receive an increase in pay beginning on October 1, 2020 with the start of the new fiscal year. All of those increases are because of longevity pay tied to their years of service with the county.
The dates, times, and locations of early voting for the General Election on November 3 were approved by the Commissioners Court. Early voting will be done at the four normal locations with one located in each county precinct. The locations are the Orange Public Library in Precinct 1, the Orange County Convention and Expo Center in Precinct 2, the Orange County Airport in Precinct 3, and the Raymond Gould Community Center in Precinct 4.
Early voting will run from Tuesday, October 13, through Saturday, October 17. It will then resume on Monday, October 19 through Saturday, October 24. The final week of early voting will be Monday, October 26 through Friday, October 30. Hours for early voting will be from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with extended hours for voting from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM each Tuesday, October 13, 20, and 27.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-