A second day of budget workshops was completed Tuesday for the Commissioners Court. Three departments presented their budget requests during the morning session and the afternoon was open for department heads to walk-in with their requests.
The Social Service Department is expanding with the addition of a possible health clinic in the next few months. A million dollar grant received in the last two months and the recent approval of a $290,000 grant will be used to fund the county’s new health department.
Orange County currently shares its health department with Hardin County. Orange County Judge John Gothia said the county’s own health clinic is coming together quickly through the hard work of Jennifer Haney the Director of the Social Services Department and has become especially necessary because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Haney is investigating locations to serve as the Orange County Health Clinic. Haney anticipates increasing her department to 12 individuals to operate the clinic when it opens which she hopes to do so by October 31, 2021.
The Commissioners Court may consider a name change for Social Services in the coming weeks. It is proposed to change the name to the Orange County Health Services Department.
Lisa Reeves with the Management Information Systems Department talked to the Court about obtaining public Wi-fi especially for the Administration Building at the Courthouse. The cost would be $99 a month and would allow for more extensive video presentations during the Commissioners Court meetings.
Another issue addressed by Reeves and the Commissioners is getting internet access for the county office in Mauriceville used by Commissioner Theresa Beauchamp and the Sheriff’s Office. AT&T is requiring a five-year contract with the county, and Spectrum currently has very limited service in that area of the county.
The third department making requests Tuesday was Road and Bridge. Senior Supervisor Trey Gilbert has been guiding that department since the retirement of County Engineer Clark Slacum in May.
Gilbert has seven capital outlay items that are needed for his department which have been put on hold by the Commissioners Court until the county begins to receive money from FEMA for recovery efforts following Hurricane Laura. Gilbert also wants to raise the part-time hourly wage for his department from $10 to $12 for an employee.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-