Orange County Road and Bridge Engineer Clark Slacum was approved Tuesday to get trucks for his department by the Commissioner Court. The trucks will be used to help with continued recovery from Tropical Storm Harvey.
The Commissioners decided to go out for bids on three dump trucks and three patch trucks. The decision to go out for bids is hoped to reduce the costs for purchasing the trucks, and the county might be able to award the bids to a local automobile dealership. The other option was to use the BuyBoard program for getting the trucks which can be quicker, but would exclude any chance of a local company getting the bid.
The Commissioners approved purchasing a wheel chair ramp for the stage in the Ball Room of the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. County Judge Brint Carlton explains the reason for purchasing the ramp now was nobody realized until recently the center did not have one already.
The need has become more imperative with the expected visitation of Governor Greg Abbott to Orange on March 17 when he is expected to speak at the Expo Center and would require access to the stage for his wheel chair. The ramp will cost $6,499.99 and is produced by the same company that produced the stage in the ball room.
Captain Dennis Marlow with the Sheriff’s Office was approved by the Commissioners in his request for submitting a grant application in the Homeland Security Grant program which will help protect against terrorist attacks. The grant will be part of the 2017 Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Activities (LETPA) which is one of three grant programs under Homeland Security. The end of February is the deadline for submitting the grant application.
Tax Assessor Collector Karen Fisher provided the Court with her office’s collection report for January 2018. Fisher reported the Tax Office had collected 75.9 million dollars which is 86.31 percent of the amount owed. This is a substantial increase from last year at the same time when the Tax Office had only collected about 61.56 percent.
Emergency Management Coordinator Ralph Valenciano spoke at the close of the meeting to inform the Commissioners Court that based on the site inventory done by the county Tropical Storm Harvey cost Orange County approximately 38 million dollars. Judge Carlton said the 38 million does not include what the county got for insurance or of possible future reimbursement for debris removal from FEMA or the state. The total is based on damages the county suffered at this first look of where Orange County is post Harvey.
No action was taken by the Commissioners Court following a closed executive session with Jessica Hill of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation. Hill and the Court met with Mark Viator of Jefferson Energy Companies which has already been granted tax incentives by the county. Carlton indicated the parties would have another closed executive session during next week’s meeting of the Commissioners Court.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-