The Orange County Commissioners held a public hearing prior to the regular Commissioners’ Court meeting on Monday to discuss the possibility of expanding the recycling efforts at the Orange County Landfill site located on Hwy. 1442.

“My goal is to [get some type of recycling program started in Orange County] without causing any type of hardship or expense to the citizens of Orange County,” Pct. 1 Commissioner David Dubose said. “The site will remain in the same place. Les [Anderson] (Orange County Engineer) and I have been talking about this and he seems to think we can do it and make it accessible to everybody.”

David Dubose suggested using one dumpster to collect wood, cardboard, concrete and plastic; metal would continue to be stacked in a pile and general trash will go in a trash container.

The County’s current trash and metal recycling contracts with Premier Recyclers, LLC and Waste Management end towards the end of June. These contracts automatically renew so the county will inform those companies that the County will be going out for bids for new recycling contracts. The County will add addendums to their renewed contract with the current companies should they offer a better bid than any other offered.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux explained that it’s better to keep the contracts the county should the bids not be favorable to the County’s budget.

“I think we owe to the citizens of Orange County to at least make an attempt,” David Dubose said.

The only problem the Commissioners foresee is the participation of the citizens in the recycling program. The City of Orange and the City of Vidor currently do not have a recycling program in place. Pct. 3 Commissioner John Dubose explained Bridge City has a curb-side pick-up recycling program.

“They pick up a box and sort it in the truck right there,” John Dubose said. “They’re only getting about 25-30 percent participation and it’s costing more money.”

The proposed recycling program for Orange County will be open to everyone in the entire county. David Dubose said that many in Orange County want to recycle but either drive to Beaumont to do their recycling or are discouraged because there isn’t a more local location.

“We know curb-side service isn’t going to work,” David Dubose said. “I think if we have an opportunity for people to have a place to put their recycle, we’ll being doing justice for everybody.”

David Dubose, Orange County Purchasing Agent Connie Cassidy and Assistant County Attorney Doug Manning will be working on plan to go out for bids. David Dubose will also speak with the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission to see if there is any grant funding available to help cover the cost of starting and running a recycling center.

The Shelter of Last Resort

The County awarded the base bid for the County’s portion of the Orange County Shelter of Last Resort to G & G Enterprises, located on Hwy. 105 in Orange.

A few weeks ago, Consultant David Waxman approached the Texas Department of Rural affairs on behalf of the County to lower the amount of the County’s cost for the shelter. The state approved of the amendment to the contract. The County’s portion dropped from approximately $4.8 million to approximately $2.4 million.

Mark Wimberly, director of Orange County’s Maintenance office, said that the County only budgeted for $2.8 million to be spent on construction for this fiscal year. Since the County’s portion of cost on the Shelter dropped dramatically, the entire cost for the County’s planned construction projects for the year will be covered.

The Commissioners were also informed that G & G Enterprises will be using as many assets from Orange County as possible, from workers to rentals.

Burn Ban Status

Jeff Kelley, director of Emergency Management explained that the County has been fortunate to have high levels of humidity for the last few days. Unfortunately, the high levels will begin to drop and the conditions in the County will go from bad to worse. There is small chance of scattered storms later this week, but Kelley doesn’t expect any wide-spread rainfall. Kelley advised the Commissioners to keep the Burn Ban in effect, the Commissioners agreed.

Other business

Ed Silva, Resident Agent in Charge for ICE presented a special commendation to Sheriff Keith Merritt and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for outstanding work done to apprehend an offender on a child pornography case. Sheriff Merritt explained that Officer R.J. Fergon worked diligently and found a lead on an internet sex crime. The lead produced more than 5,000 images of child pornography on just one computer. Sheriff Merritt then presented Fergon with the special commendation.

The Commissioners approved for Connie Cassidy to advertise for Proposals on the Vidor Sub-Courthouse Exterior Renovation and to advertise for Proposals on the repairs of the Covered Walkway between the Courthouse and the Sheriff’s Office. Mark Wimberly explained that there was a plan to do this renovation before Hurricane Ike hit, but it was placed on hold due to the damaged Ike caused the County.

The Commissioners also approved the rejection of bids received on the County’s annual requirements for Prescription Pharmacy Services and the County’s annual requirement for Bulk Prescription Drugs for inmates. David Dubose explained that when they received the latest round of bids, there wasn’t a standard to go buy as far as cost went. The County is choosing to re-bid on these services to get a better and fairer price.

The Commissioners issued a proclamation naming May as “Mental Health and Older Americans Month,” as well as “Elder Abuse Prevention Month.”

The amount for total bills paid this week is $362,597.59, including: $12,785.27 to Lynda Gunstream from the general fund for the litigation settlement for Weingarten Realty Investor; $60,850.80 to Cleveland Construction, Inc., from the general fund for J.P. Three, drawdown #4; and $21,652.83 to U.T.M.B., from the general fund for contract payment due May 15.