The Commissioners Court approved Tuesday authorizing the issuance of $4 million in Orange County Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note. The action sets the county up to take a loan for that amount this calendar year and was recommended by County Auditor Pennee Schmitt.
County Judge John Gothia, who celebrated his birthday Tuesday, said the loan will be necessary because the county is still waiting for reimbursement payments from FEMA for the recovery expenses from Hurricane Laura in 2020. Gothia does not believe the county will need the entire $4 million, but it will require some of the loan to pay county expenses through the end of the calendar year before property tax dollars begin to come in starting in January 2022.
A special budget was adopted by the Commissioners Court for $10.9 million concerning a Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery Infrastructure Projects. The money will be received and then immediately be dispensed to cover General Land Office projects in the county.
Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin gave the latest county COVID numbers. There were 63 new cases of the Coronavirus with eight hospitalizations, none of which required the use of ventilators.
Ardoin indicated the Immunization Clinic on Strickland Drive should be opening by the third week of October. Until the Immunization Clinic opens the county will continue to provide vaccine shots on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Convention and Expo Center located on FM 1442.
Interlocal contracts were approved for three different services. The Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force including the Orange County Sheriff’s Office will participate with the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority of Texas.
Orange County and the Spindletop Center had two agreements, the first is to have Spindletop perform mental health screening and counseling at the Orange County Jail for a fee not to exceed $25,000 between September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. The second is to extend an existing one-year agreement with Spindletop to August 31, 2022.
The Sheriff’s Office will be getting mobile computers and new radios. The Court approved the purchase of 38 Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers at a cost of $187,343 to be paid by grant funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The purchase of 32 Motorola APX-6500 mobile vehicle radios will cost $179,997 also to be paid with ARPA grant funds. This purchase will replace the last of the old radios that were being phased out by the Sheriff’s Office.
The four County Constables will also be getting new radios. The Constables will be receiving four APX-6000 portable radios and four APX-6500 mobile radios for a total cost of $44,549 to be purchased using ARPA funds.
The Commissioners approved a contract with AT&T effective May 2021 to July 2022. Lisa Reeves with the county’s automation department said the contract is to provide Flexware Services for county offices.
The Court recognized October 3-9, 2021 as National 4-H Week in Texas. Franny Woods who serves as the 4-H Program Assistant and County Extension Agent Fallon Foster of the AgriLife Extension Service in Orange County accepted the proclamation.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-