The running joke at Orange County commissioners’ meetings is if a burn ban item is placed on the agenda – it will rain.

The mock superstition held out until June 24 in 2009, and so far has kept the court at bay from calling a ban this summer.

Although the county is listed at low levels in the Keetch-Bryam Drought Index, and at moderate U.S. Drought Monitor levels, Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelley said in regular session Monday, “We’re still headed for a big problem.”

KBDI, used by the Texas Forest Service, measures soil moisture to calculate wild fire risk, with 0 being no risk and 800 representing maximum risk.

Kelley said a 14-day outlook predicts the county back into the 600-700 range soon.

Victim notifications

Commissioners renewed two contracts between the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the state attorney general’s office which notify crime victims of an offender’s release from incarceration.

The programs are the Statewide Automated Victim Notification Service, also known as SAVNS; and VINE, or Victim Information and Notification Everyday.

Orange County has taken part in both programs for several years.

Cost is $15,564 for a year’s worth of service.

Galveston meetings

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux, reporting on the latest meeting of the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, said board members approved a bank depository and a law firm to handle legal issues.

The next meeting is set for Aug. 3 at the Galveston County Courthouse. Meetings are open to the public.

Orange County is partnering with Jefferson, Galveston, Harris, Brazoria and Chambers counties in the group dedicated to levee/storm surge protection strategies and how to fund them.

Board members are expected to elect three at-large directors at the August meeting, Thibodeaux said.

Chairman of the corporation is Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough, and vice chairman is Jefferson County Judge-elect Jeff Branick. Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels is president of the corporate offices.

Road work fees

Commissioners approved check payments from three city entities and one school district for materials provided by the county Road and Bridge Department.
Monies paid include: Rose City – $983; Pine Forest – $473; Pinehurst – $42,360; and Orangefield ISD – $31,862.