It’s no secret that much of Texas is facing one of the worst draughts anyone can remember. On Monday, Jeff Kelley, director of Orange County Emergency Management, informed the Commissioners that there are only four counties out of the 254 counties in Texas have not implemented a burn ban. Orange County brought that number down to three.

Jeff Kelley, director of Emergency Management for Orange County, said that “We don’t really have any significant relief in sight. We do have a little bit of chance [of rain] this week but it’s not much and it’s scattered.”

The Burn Ban in effect can be rescinded at anytime.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux and the Commissioners have set the proposed tax rate for the fiscal year 2011/2012 at 0.53559 percent; this is the same tax rate as last year. This proposed tax rate is not set in stone; this rate has room for adjustment.

“The proposed tax rate is to get the clock running to adopt our budget,” Thibodeaux said. “You can go below this tax rate once it is adopted, but it cannot go above this rate. This is a number for us to be working with.”

The Commissioners set two public hearings on this proposed tax rate for Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. These meeting are for discussion only. Action will not be taken until it is time to adopt the budget.

The Commissioners appointed Lisa Reeves as the new Director of the Management Information Systems Department. Reeves was chosen as interim director after Jesse Charles “Chuck” McClain unexpectedly passed away on Aug. 10.

The Commissioners approvedand accepted of the renewal contract between Orange County and The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston for specialized care and other medical treatment, if needed, for the participants of the Orange County Indigent Health Care Program. The term of the contract shall be from Sept. 1, 2011 through Aug. 31, 2012. Upon approval, Haney requests Judge Carl Thibodeaux sign each copy of the contract and return the originals to Social Services.

The Commissioners also approved to keep the current income levels of the Orange County Indigent Health Care program for Sept. 1, 2011 through Aug. 31, 2012. The current income level is 49 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

The Court approved filing in the minutes of the Court a direct deposit from the State Comptroller of Public Accounts in the amount of $348,865.16. These funds represent the one half cent Sales and Use Allocation for the month of June, 2011 and have been credited to the General Operating Fund.

The Commissioners approved the payment of bills totaling $461,779.11 including: $14,463.72 to Schaumburg & Polk from general fund for Shelter of Last Resort; $21,652.83 to U.T.M.B., from general fund for contract payment due August 15, 2011; and $1,150.00 to Memorial Funeral Home from general fund for indigent funeral expenses

The Commissioners approved of the monthly reports from the County Treasurer for month ending July 31, 2011 and recorded in the minutes of the court: Interest Earned to date in the amount of $65,981.04; approval of Investments in TexPool, Super Investments-General Fund, Treasurer Investments-General Fund, Certificates of Deposits and Government Agencies in the amount of $268,001.44; treasurer’s report of revenues received and disbursed in accordance with the Local Government Code and affidavit of approval by court (this report will be available on the county’s web site for viewing); Pledged Security Collateral for a total of $32,753,839.16, summary as follows: Wells Fargo Bank $20,762,832.62; and Capital One Bank $11,991,006.54.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers