County, cities get help from river authority
The Sabine River Authority handed a $25,000 check to Orange County commissioners Monday for disaster assistance, with plans to contribute funds to cities or agencies such as Bridge City, Orange, West Orange, Pinehurst, Rose City and Vidor; Orange County water districts 1 and 2, the Mauriceville Special Utility District and Orangefield Water Supply Corp.
“The storm surge damage caused by Hurricane Ike will go down in history for many communities in Orange County,” said SRA General Manager Jerry Clark. “We stand ready to work with those entities as they continue to focus on protecting water and wastewater services to communities and municipalities throughout the Sabine River Basin.”
Disaster relief assistance funds are provided by the authority through revenue received from fees on pollution control bonds, said Ann Galassi, authority public relations director.
“Hopefully we won’t have to do this again for another hurricane,” she told commissioners. “We’ve had our share.”
“We appreciate it,” said Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux. “We’ll let you know what we do with it.”
Bridge City officials didn’t have any problem taking a $40,000 donation from the authority late Tuesday, saying it would definitely be put to good use.
Before a city council meeting, Mayor Kirk Roccaforte talked about possible applications for the needed funds.
“All the buildings in the city were damaged, and there are a lot of issues there,” he said. “We’re dealing with a lot of insurance problems, and you know how that goes. Also, this can help with the city’s lack of income in water and sewer payments, as well as sales tax revenue. This [donation] will be used and is definitely appreciated.”
In addition to homes, businesses or industrial plants impacted by Hurricane Ike, salt water from the storm surge reached the authority’s intake canal for the first time in its history.
“Recovery efforts in the basin showed how well east Texans worked together in a time of crisis,” Galassi said. She added, “Of those counties located in the Sabine River Basin that were declared major disaster areas, entities in Orange County were the hardest hit with [cost estimates] reaching well over $3 million.”
Created by the state Legislature in 1949, the authority works to control, store, preserve and distribute the waters of the Sabine River and its tributaries for useful purposes.
Other SRA donation presentations are set for:
• City of Rose City, 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, temporary city hall, 370 S. Rose City Drive ($20,000).
• City of Vidor, city hall, 125 Watts Road, 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 ($5,000).
• City of West Orange, 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, city hall, 2700 Western Ave. ($20,000).
• City of Pinehurst, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, city hall, 3640 Mockingbird St. ($20,000).
• City of Orange, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, city council chambers, 220 N. Fifth St. ($40,000).
• Orange County Water District No. 2 (West Orange), 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, district office, 2526 Western Ave. ($20,000).
• Orange County Water District No. 1 (Vidor), 5:30 Monday, Nov. 17, district office, 416 E. Bolivar St. ($20,000).