The Commissioners Court discussed using county buildings for state agencies at its meeting Wednesday morning. The Court has been attempting to maximize the available space of county buildings.
The Commissioners discussed a request from the University of Texas Medical Branch to allow the WIC office which is a state health and nutrition program for women, infants, and children to be housed at the Gould Park Community Center. Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin relayed a request from the General Land Office to house one of its representatives in the county office building at the Orange County Airport.
The building at the airport currently houses the Precinct 3 County Commissioner Kirk Roccaforte and the Precinct 3 Constable Mark Philpott, but there is an office that is being unused. Philpott expressed to some of the Commissioners his concern for the security of items he keeps in his office. County Judge John Gothia believes the county Maintenance Department should be able to add a pad lock to the door of Philpott’s office for added security.
The Court approved both requests. Denise Gremillion the legal counsel for the Court will prepare interlocal agreements which can then be approved at the next meeting of the Commissioners.
The Commissioners Court approved cancelling the Chapter 381 abatement agreement with LaPoint Energy Partners at the company’s request. The agreement was established in July 2015 with a proposed $42 million investment by LaPoint. The reinvestment zone created at the same time was also withdrawn.
Chevron Phillips Chemical asked permission of the county to survey across the Orange County Airport property. The Commissioners Court legal counselor Gremillion had some questions on the wording of the contract which would allow the survey to be done.
Gremillion will meet with Rebecca Gregg of Chevron Phillips Chemical to work out the wording that is acceptable to Gremillion. The Court approved allowing the survey contingent on the paperwork being satisfactory to their attorney.
Voting sites were approved for the early voting in the November Constitutional Amendment election. Two familiar sites will be used at the Orange Public Library in Precinct 1 and the Raymond Gould Community Center in Precinct 4. Two new locations will be the Convention and Expo Center in Precinct 2 and the Orange County Airport in Precinct 3.
Elections Administrator Tina Barrow explained the new electronic voting machines need the larger area of the two new locations to allow more privacy for voters. Early voting will start October 21 for the November 5 election.
Included in the weekly bills approved for payment was $146,554.52 to Wendorf, Beward, & Partners. That brings the total to over $1.7 million paid to the grant consulting firm. Judge Gothia indicated the firm has earned its fee, but agreed with several of the Commissioners that no more requests should be made until more of the grant funds sought by the county are received.
The Commissioners approved spending $95,000 to purchase medical and drug supplies for use in the infirmary at the Orange County Jail. Sheriff Keith Merritt stated running the jail requires his department house, feed, cloth, and provide medical treatment for the inmates. The last item which includes medicines and drugs for the inmates is maybe the most expensive of the requirements.
The population of the jail is very high right now. Merritt said during a budget workshop that there are over 200 inmates in the Orange County Jail when in previous years it was seldom over a hundred. The jail has a capacity to house up to 325 prisoners.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-