Once again, the City of Orange is waiving some fees for people with flooded houses. The city council agreed to waive building permit fees for people rebuilding. In addition, the city will not restrict the use of recreational vehicles or trailers at residents that had water after Imelda.
The city has previously waived fees and trailer restrictions after previous storms, including Rita in 2005, Ike in 2008, the 2016 Sabine River Flood, Harvey in 2017, and now Imelda in 2019.
Other business for the council included buying new pickup trucks for the detectives in the police department along with new SUVs for the patrol division. The trucks are coming from the Ford dealership in Orange and the SUVs being bought through the Caldwell, Texas, Chevrolet dealership.
The three Ford F-150 trucks will be bought for $81,175 through Sabine River Ford in Orange. Police Chief Lane Martin said he got prices for the trucks from the Houston-Galveston region bid cooperative. Sabine River Ford offered a price within 5 percent of the price through the co-op.
A city ordinance allows the city to buy from a local business within the city limits if the price is within 5 percent of the lowest co-op price.
Three Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs will cost $100,938 from Caldwell Chevrolet through the co-op. The city of Orange does not have a Chevrolet dealership, though one is in the city of West Orange with a lot in the city of Pinehurst.
Martin said the new vehicles are replacing older ones with more than 100,000 miles. The old ones will be sold through the Renee Bates Auction online.
Sandra Cash with the Keep Orange County Beautiful program told the council Solvay Specialty Polymers in Orange has offered to partner with the group to plant “several large canopy”
In a letter to the council, she requested permission to plant six Montezuma cypress trees at the entrance to the Orange Boat Ramp on Simmons Drive. She said the trees do not produce “knees” (roots that rise above the ground). They will be planted so they do not interfere with utility lines.
Sandra Hoke, also with Keep Orange County Beautiful, announced enough people had signed up for a private curbside recycling through a private company. The service will cost $10 a month for people who enroll.
The council split the city’s 324 votes for Orange County Appraisal District board of directors. Laura Floyd and Tim Schossow will each get 162 votes. The city pairs votes with the West Orange-Cove CISD and the Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD.
The council approved on second and final vote a zoning ordinance for ornamental signs that will fit the concrete orange sculptures the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce is selling.
After months of negotiating, the city reached an agreement for a one-year contract with the Orange Municipal Police Association. The council approved the 49-page contract.
The council also voted on the agreements to groups to receive the 2020 Hotel Occupancy Tax grants. The money, under state law, must be used to promote tourism or historical preservation.
The allocations are Orange Lions Club, $6,000; Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, $50,000; Southeast Texas Arts Council, $5,000; Friends of the Orange Depot, $10,000; Lutcher Theater, $50,000; Heritage House Museum, $15,000; and Adventures 2000 Plus, $4,000.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-