With the stroke of

a pen Orange County is now debt free.

County Judge Carl

Thibodeaux signed the last wire payment to Bank of New York, Mellon

Global Corporate Trust in the amount of $275,737.50 at the meeting of

the Orange County Commissioners’ Court this afternoon. This payment

represents the principle and interest payment for 1994 Jail Certificate

of Obligation with a due date of Feb. 15, 2012.

“We are debt

free,” Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose said. John Dubose,

Pct. 3 Commissioner, said Thibodeaux has served long enough as

judge, 17 years, to see the jail paid off.

The commissioners

approved a resolution requesting the Jefferson County Industrial

Development Corporation exercise its power in calling a public hearing

for revenue bonds to be issued in connection with a refinery project.

The public hearing is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 27 in the

Orange County Commissioners’ Courtroom.

It was reported at

last week’s meeting the court was presented with plans to revitalize the

old Independent Refining plant in Hamshire. The refinery will be able to

handle 70,000 barrels per day.

The company,

Partnership Strategies, is also building a port in Brownsville that can

handle 100,000 barrel barges. One barge at High Island that will have

150,000 barrels worth of storage and 120,000 barrels worth of barge


The company also requires a deep water port and determined the Port of Beaumont,

which is partially situated in Orange County, to be the best location.

They were allocated $300 million in municipal bonds by Jefferson County

two years ago for Hurricane Ike redevelopment through a proclamation of

Gov. Rick Perry.

The court approved

the hiring of eight seasonal employees for driving positions for the

Mosquito Control District. Patrick Beebe, director of mosquito control,

said the last time mosquitoes were this bad in January was the year 1999

when the department had 69 calls. This January had 68 service calls.

Jeff Kelley,

emergency management coordinator, reported the shelter of last resort on

FM 1442 will have a 200-ton crane there this week to lift wall panels to

the structure. The concrete is also being polished by a grinder.

“We’ll see the

wall panels lifted by Friday. You’re about to see a building pop up.

It’s pretty impressive,” Kelley said.

Kelley also gave a

presentation on the FY 2012 Routine Airport Maintenance Grant for the

Orange County Airport which was approved.

The proposed 2012

RAMP grant projects are as follows: 

• Replace cannonball sliding tracks and cannonball rollers on all six of

the older hangars

• Update the

remaining incandescent taxi-way light fixtures with update medium

intensity quartz fixtures

• Install a new

entrance sign for the airport

• Miscellaneous

repairs at the airport such as replacing antenna and photocells for the

lights and replacing broken vault covers

• Replace and

purchase needed fire extinguishers for the airport Kelley said the grant

is for $36,000 and the airport should have some funds left over for

maintenance issues.

The court

proclaimed February 11 as 2-1-1 Day in the county and to give special

recognition to the 2-1-1 Area Information Center of Southeast Texas.

Bonnie Brooks,

outreach coordinator with the center, said the 2-1-1 center at the South

East Texas Regional Planning Commission in Beaumont is one of 125 call

centers in Texas. The center in Beaumont received 50,000 calls last year.

Brooks said in

addition to 2-1-1 being used as emergency evacuation registration, the

service can be used for registering for social services to help.

She said the call

center is in the process of beefing up and updating participating

agencies in meeting unmet needs and supplying statistics and data for

people in need.