Orange County has been declared a federal disaster site for individual assistance as of last Friday. County Judge John Gothia said Tuesday the goal is to get a disaster declaration for Orange County to receive public assistance in its recovery from Imelda.
Gothia mentioned at the Commissioners Court meeting that Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin was in the field with representatives from FEMA doing the reports that should allow the county to reach the threshold for public assistance. The judge hoped those reports could be wrapped up by the end of this week.
County Road and Bridge crews are performing cleanup in parts of the county close to the landfill because their vehicles are smaller with less capacity for hauling the debris away. The Commissioners Court approved previously using the old landfill as a temporary storage site for the debris.
An agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) was signed last week. TxDOT should begin hauling away debris stacked on the right-of-way of state highways as early as this week according to Gothia.
An important stipulation with the pickup by TxDOT is they will only make one pass through each location. Gothia encourages citizens on state highways to have their debris out by the right-of-way as soon as possible so as not to miss the one pass by TxDOT.
Commissioner Robert Viator pointed out that some of the debris being piled in front of properties is not in the right-of-way and would not normally be collected by either TxDOT or the private contractor the county might hire. The county may need to get a special permit that would allow the contractor to come onto private property in order to remove the debris.
Maintenance Director Kurt Guidry presented to the Commissioners Court three bids from contractors to replace and repair the roof on the Precinct 2 Radio Building at the landfill. The low bid of $12,254 was submitted by Scarborough Industries who was awarded the contract.
Sheriff Keith Merritt’s office is scheduled to get four new Chevy Tahoes. The cost is $45,357 each. Money was transferred from the Contingency Fund in order to pay for the vehicles. The original amount to be transferred was insufficient, so the Court approved transferring $7,183 to correct the cost to purchase the Tahoes.
Approval was given to the contract for software used by the District Clerk’s Office. The iDocket.com software requires a $7500 interface to be installed on it. The first year payment for the software is $43,333.
Because of flooding from Imelda two voting box locations will change for the November 5 election on Constitutional Amendments. Box 31 will move from the Mauriceville Assembly of God Church to the Mauriceville Volunteer Fire Department. Box 16 will also vote there. In Vidor, Box 34 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church will move to the Raymond Gould Community Center which is also where Box 19 will vote.
The Commissioners Court approved a rental agreement with Pitney Bowes for a mail machine. The five-year contract was the only option available for the county to get a much needed stamp machine for the Courthouse mailroom.
Parks Director Sabrina Gray had good news. She announced that Claiborne West Park will reopen next Monday, October 14. The park was closed after Imelda.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-