David Ball For The Record

Bobby Fillyaw is the director of the OCEDC

The Orange County Economic Development Corporation cleared the first hurdle in landing a national fishing tournament in the country.

The Orange County Commissioners’ Court approved at their Tuesday morning meeting dedicating $60,000 to the OCEDC out of the next cycle of the Hotel-Motel Tax funds to attract a national fishing tournament to Orange County.

Bobby Fillyaw, executive director of the OCEDC, said there are 14 professional organizations nationwide. Included with these organizations are various professional anglers with television rights.

“We looked at the economic impact these tournaments have on a community. If we could land one, it would be a big impact locally. It’s a very competitive venture to go for,” Fillyaw said.

He added the HOT Committee needed the funds committed to be a credible bidder for the event.

Fillyaw said professional fishing organizations generate billions of dollars and he believes Orange County is a prime location for them to take advantage of for a tournament,

“It could possibly bring in $1.3 million,” he said. “It would be good for these big hoteliers. These organizations may need over 3,000 rooms per night. You have the fishermen, the tournament officials, sponsors, TV people and satellite crews. The tournaments usually last three to six days. They need a setup time of a week. They’ll also need gas, diesel, food from restaurants and drinks at the bar. We would get national exposure that this is a good place to be. We would be advertised to the world.”

The organizations make their schedules during the summer. Fillyaw said it would be a big deal if Orange County gets a tournament.

In other county business, commissioners approved the application from Cimarex Energy Company for a permit to conduct limited geophysical operations in the county.

John Hoka with the company said they have been working with Precinct 4 Commissioner Jody Crump. The work is slated to begin either mid or late June and be completed in August. The property will be between Vidor and the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Any damages to roads by the company will be addressed.

Donna Scales, parks director, reported the company who ceased drilling operations at Claiborne West Park are nearly done with the clean up.

“It’s looking really good,” she said.

Commissioners were concerned about a private road leading to a hunting club being repaired. She said it too, will be fixed.

The commissioners renewed an agreement with Moore Land Management for mowing and applying herbicides and insecticides at the Orange County Airport, from May 29, 2012 through May 28, 2013.

The company will have to mow additional grass at the airport and raise their rates by an additional $500 for a new total of $2,550 per month. The new budget starting next fiscal year will have to increase.

Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose asked if the county could go out for new bids to maybe find a cheaper company to do the work. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said Moore’s current price is still lower than bids they received from other companies last year.

Sheriff Keith Merritt reported on the 2012 Orange County Jail Inspection Report. This is the 15th year in a row the jail has passed with zero deficiencies.

He said that statistic is unheard of for a jail to have that many years with no deficiencies.

“I speak with other sheriffs and they tell me their jail is the biggest headaches in running the sheriff’s department. We don’t have that problem. I believe we have one of the best jails in the State of Texas. I’m proud of our staff,” he said.

Crump said the feat is quite an accomplishment. Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose said the jail has a great staff.