In a vote that was more or less previewed at a workshop on Monday, the Commissioners Court approved Tuesday supporting the Orange County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The county will fund the EDC at $375,000 during the next fiscal year.
Executive Director of the EDC Jessica Hill requested the $375,000 which is less than the last year’s funding of $525,000. The difference represents $150,000 that last year was targeted for property acquisition and development, but was eventually distributed as recovery grants to a number of small businesses in the county that were damaged by Tropical Storm Harvey.
The vote in support of the EDC was 4 to 1 with only County Judge Dean Crooks voting against the recommended funding. Crooks stated as he did at Monday’s workshop he thought the money could be better used paying bills or improving various county services.
The Commissioners Court unanimously approved interlocal agreements with the cities in the county for a pre-disaster contract and a monitoring contract. Each of the identical agreements for the different municipalities are independent of each other. The cities included in the agreements are Orange, West Orange, Pinehurst, Bridge City, Vidor, Rose City, and Pine Forest.
The Routine Airport Maintenance Program or RAMP Grant for fiscal year 2019 was approved at the recommendation of Assistant County Attorney Denise Gremillion. She had asked for time to review the contract and had no concern with it afterwards.
Gremillion requested a closed session with the Commissioners Court and the various county constables to discuss possible legal issues connected to an Interlocal Agreement between the City of Pine Forest and the county providing certain law enforcement services. After the closed meeting the Court took no action, but Commissioner Jody Crump promised to meet with Pine Forest Mayor Cathy Nagel later to provide her paperwork apparently concerning the agreement.
Judge Crooks was authorized by the Commissioners to sign a resolution in support of Jasper County’s request to join the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. The commission is currently composed of representatives from Orange, Jefferson, and Hardin Counties. Jasper County Judge Mark Allen spoke to the Court and received encouragement from all of its members.
Beginning in October the Commissioners Court will be meeting on a different day and at a different time. The Court voted to change its regular meeting day to Wednesday and the time to 10:00 AM. The change will go into effect with the start of the new fiscal year which is October 1, 2018.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-