OC Tax Office to be closed May 23

Friday, March 23 may not be the best day for residents who have business with the Orange County Tax Office.

The Orange County Commissioners’ Court approved closing the office on that day to upgrade the Department of Motor Vehicle computer equipment at their meeting Monday afternoon. The state is overseeing the installation of the new equipment.

Lynda Gunstream, tax assessor-collector, said it will be an all day project. Residents who need to do business that day with the office may go to the Vidor office for assistance.

The court approved a request from organizations requesting Community Participation Funds from the county.

Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” requested $24,000, Lower Sabine-Neches Soil & Water Conservation District #446 requested $1,000, the city of West Orange requested $800 for fire protection and the Southeast Texas Resource Conservation & Development, Inc. requested $500. Julie Rogers is a first time request.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the county funds organization who go above and beyond the services the county can offer.

Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose preferred giving Julie Rogers $10,000 rather than $24,000 so enough funds would be available to go around for all organizations.

The rest of the court agreed and passed the measure.

Gunstream presented to the court the report of tax collection for February 2012.

Total collections for the month totaled $19,055,636. Total collections for the county’s portion was $4,596,336. For the fiscal tax year, 91.84 percent has been collected, down one-half of a percentage from February 2011. Delinquent tax collections are also down 2.88 percent.

Commissioners approved advertising for a firm to complete Storm Water and a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan for the Orange County Airport. This plan can be added to the current FY 2012 Routine Airport Maintenance Grant.

Jeff Kelley, emergency management coordinator, reported the county had money left over from the grant to pay the $5,000 fee. The grant will pay for half and the money is already budgeted.

Also approved for the airport was funding to construct an 80-feet by 80-feet hangar.

Kelley said the airport has a potential tenant and the hangar would be similar to the mosquito control department’s hangar.

The project would work on a 90/10 match with the county funding 90 percent and the individual funding 10 percent.

One resident who spoke during the open court session said he was concerned about flooding in the Dawnwood Addition due to ditches being backed-up. Michael James of the Road & Bridge Department said the ditch belonged to the Orange County Drainage District and he would look into the matter.

The commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing Chili’s Grill and Bar Restaurant in Orange for its support to the Advocates for Children, Inc. in sponsoring their annual pancake breakfast.

Jane Stevenson, executive director for CASA, said the money from the event helps fund CASA programs.

In return, Stevenson gave the commissioners’ court an American flag to fly over the Orange County Courthouse during the month of April — child abuse prevention month.