The Orange County Courthouse will resume more normal operations this week, Maintenance Director Mark Wimberley told commissioners in regular session.

Judge Joe Parkhurst’s office should be back by Wednesday, and Justice of the Peace Janice Menard’s office will be moved to somewhere around the Orange County airport by the end of the week.

Jeff Kelley, emergency management coordinator, said the county had officially switched from “emergency mode” to “recovery mode.””That doesn’t mean that just because we’ve left the EOC (Emergency Operations Command) building, we won’t stop supporting Bridge City, Orange or anyone who needs it,” he said.

County officials will soon meet with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to classify county areas into zones “A through G,” which helps determine insurance options including for flooding assistance. The county has been given a “threshold” by FEMA of about $264,000, in order to qualify for government assistance.

“I told them we could make that in one stop,” Kelley said.
FEMA estimated about 1 million cubic yards of debris in the county, he said.

The county will assist in debris pick up except for commercial businesses, assumed to be covered by insurance, he said.

Some commercial operations may want to apply for assistance with the Small Business Administration, he said.

Also at the meeting, overtime for the sheriff’s department was identified as being “over 86 hours in a two-week time period.”

The stipulation was missing from the department’s contract with the county and needing clarification in case of an audit, said attorney and commissioners’ legal advisor Doug Manning.

Officials from the deputies’ union said they helped draft the wording used. Union members approved of the addition in an earlier meeting, the officials said.

In other business, Elections Administrator Tina Leverett requested a change in Bridge City’s early voting location for the Nov. 4 General Election because of damage caused by Hurricane Ike.

Commissioners approved a move from the Bridge City Public Works building to Winfree Baptist Church, 19525 Texas 62. Early voting hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 20-25 and Oct. 27-31, she said.