May election will determine vacant council seat
With only two-and-a-half months to go before the May 12 election, the Orange City Council opted to wait until the election to fill the Place 3 Council seat vacated by Councilman Jeff Holland who resigned at their Tuesday morning regular meeting.
The Council approved a letter of resignation at the meeting submitted by Holland. He wrote in the letter his obligations have grown and he found it necessary to step aside to fulfill those said obligations. He added he was doing so with mixed emotions.
City Manager Shawn Oubre said the city charter has two options when a vacancy occurs on the council: if the vacancy is within 12 months prior to the election the council will appoint a person to the position, or if beyond 12 months, the council will call for a general election.
Oubre added the Place 3 seat will eventually go away under single-member districts and become the east town/Greenway area seat.
Oubre said with the May election so near, the council would be hard-pressed to find someone familiar with the city’s issues in such a short time span. He recommended leaving the seat vacant and let the winner of the May 12 election fill the position.
“It would put someone at a disadvantage,” he said.
Councilwoman Annette Pernell said it was “heart-wrenching” Holland resigned from the council. She added she and the council will keep the family in prayer until he can come back one day.
In addition to being a councilman, Holland also served as mayor pro tem. A new mayor pro tem would need to be nominated and serve until the May election. City Attorney John Cash Smith recommended the council post nominating the position on the agenda for the next meeting.
The council approved a resolution awarding a contract for the purchase of a Pierce 100 foot industrial ladder truck for the Orange Fire Department for $907,880.
Deputy Chief Jerry Ziller said the contract is awarded to Siddons/Martin Fire Apparatus through the Houston Galveston Area Council for the amount of purchase. The city of Orange received a grant from the 2009 Port Security Grant Program managed by the U.S. Coast Guard to purchase the industrial ladder truck.
The grant is a 75/25 percent match for the city coming from trading in the department’s 1993 Pierce ladder truck plus budgeted funds. The cost of the ladder truck is $1,025,880 less the department’s trade-in valued at $118,000 which left $907,880.
The grant funded $769,556 which leaves $138,323.75 to be funded from the $150,000 budgeted for this purchase.
The council approved authorizing the Orange County Mosquito Control District to fly low altitudes as required for the application of insecticides for the abatement of mosquitoes within the city limits.
The spraying is made necessary this time of year due to the mild winter conditions and resulting mosquito activity.
Oubre announced the schedule for the city council’s neighborhood meeting. They will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The first will be February 27 at the Orange Navy Homes Community Center on Simmons Drive, February 28 at Orange Fire Station #3 on MLK Drive, February 29 at the National Guard Armory on Link and March 1 at Cove Baptist Church on DuPont.