The Commissioners Court heard updates Tuesday from Maintenance Director Kurt Guidry concerning repairs to damage from Hurricane Laura. Guidry added the county is waiting on mitigation to be approved to begin the $4.2 million in repairs to the Orange County Courthouse structure that was damaged by Laura and Harvey.
Guidry said the repairs to the Courthouse include replacing 92 windows and performing plaster work in all the offices in the building where the windows are to be removed. Doors and ceilings in many of the offices especially the County Clerk and District Clerk offices will also be redone to prevent intrusion of water which is a problem during storms.
Architect Dohn LaBiche is working to find marble to be installed on the façade above the front entrance to the Courthouse. Guidry’s department sealed and painted the façade in the last two weeks to match the color of the marble until the new marble can be installed.
County Engineer Corey Oldbury gave an update on the Road and Bridge Department. Road construction will be winding down in the next couple of weeks as the weather changes to winter and becomes too cold for the resurfacing of roads.
Oldbury has his department doing cleanup of debris from the tornado that crossed the county earlier this month. He said the cleanup was supposed to conclude on Wednesday, but emphasized the work will continue until it is done removing all green debris and other debris caused by the tornado.
Orange County will be getting a new business on Highway 62. The Lonestar Iron & Metal Recycling operation requested a variance to waive the restrictions for an auto salvage junkyard. The owner said they do not intend to accept any junk autos just batteries and other smaller parts easy to ship to India where the parts can be recycled.
The request was going to be tabled to the next meeting for a review by Assistant County Attorney Denise Gremillion, but she did a quick reading of the waiver requirements and said it would be binding on the business if the current owner tried to change the operation to collecting junk autos. The Commissioners Court voted 4 to 1 to approve the variance with Commissioner Theresa Beauchamp from the precinct where the business is located casting the only negative vote because of the possible traffic problems the business may cause on Highway 62.
The Sheriff’s Office was approved to purchase a Stalker handheld radar for the Patrol Division. The cost will be $2,421, and the radar unit will be used for training purposes according to Chief Deputy Keith Reneau.
The purchase of a 2021 Ford F-150 vehicle to be used by the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division was also approved. Chief Reneau reminded the Sheriff’s Office had originally requested a Chevrolet Silverado, but that purchase has been so delayed the purchase order has been cancelled. The purchase of the Ford F-150 for $41,036 will be done from the Treasury Forfeiture Budget.
Purchasing Agent Tim Funchess was approved to renew the contract with Haney & Haney at the same price for prescription drugs to be used by the Orange County Jail inmates. Funchess also got approval for renewal of purchasing road materials with six different contractors. Funchess said some of the costs did increase because of the rising price of oil which some of the road materials are composed.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-