In commissioners’ second to last meeting of 2009, Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose proposed forming a Wellness Committee early next year that could save health care costs to county employees and ultimately the community.

“We could start with county employees then maybe venture out into the rest of the county,” Dubose said. “TAC (The Texas Association of Counties) is recommending counties do this.”

In a Dec. 7 report by Paula Tacker with the Family and Consumer Sciences Division of the Texas Agrilife Extension Service, she said 2009’s “Do Well, Be Well” diabetes seminars had the potential impact to save $4 million through education by reducing hospital stays and emergency situations, saving costs to individuals and taxpayers.

Tacker and county liaison Jill Frillou will also be on the committee, along with other county officials, Dubose said.

The last commissioners’ meeting will be Dec. 21, with no meeting set for Dec. 28 unless an emergency meeting is called.

Grant update

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said last week’s application by the county for $99.5 million in grants has decreased to about $12 million.

“It’s still out there … right now,” he said. “We don’t know what we’re going to get.” He added that he thought the county would get most of the roadwork improvements it asked for.

The application included of $5.9 million for a hurricane flood protection study that could lead to a levee system. Other areas include small business recovery, sewer system upgrades, retention ponds at Terry Gully and the Cow Bayou/Doty Ditch; and road repairs in the Waterwood and Victory Garden subdivisions.

The grants are available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. At least 51 percent of the total funding must be spent on low income areas.

Demolition approved

Commissioners approved for Road and Bridge to demolish property at 2055 Evangeline Drive in Vidor and 3465 Stuart Drive in Orange. Code Compliance Director Joel Ardoin said efforts to contact the property owners were unsuccessful and neighbors in the areas had a long history of complaints.

Commissioners gave a 90-day extension to Scott Carter, whose father Woodrow Carter lives out of town and owns property at 9706 Farm Road 1130. Scott Carter said he was not aware of a problem until October and has made efforts to remove debris and abandoned cars. The titles to the cars were lost after Hurricane Ike and he is manually dismantling them for the scrap yard.

In other business Monday, the terms of five commissioners of Emergency Services District 3 were renewed, Bobby Manshack and Jason Gengo for two-year terms and Joe Parkhurst, David Teague and James “Jimbo” Davis for one-year-terms. Their current terms expire Jan. 1.