Commissioners taking care of business
Commissioners approved the payment of bills totaling $495,511.45, $347,560.01 of which is a payment to G&G Enterprises for the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. Those funds come from the state.
Mary Johnson, the county auditor, presented the G&G item separately to commissioners because the county received the check from the state on Friday after she had already closed out accounts for the week and G&G had requested the payment this week, instead of waiting until next Monday.
Christy Khoury, county treasurer, said she had no problem with cutting the check, but would not release it until the funds have been posted to the county’s account. She said the check was just deposited Monday morning and it could be anywhere from one to three days before the bank posts the funds.
“I don’t want to release the check until either I move funds or the check has posted to the account,” said Khoury. Once she has verified the posting, she will release the check to G&G.
Khoury was also authorized to sign documentation to obtain unclaimed properties held by the State Comptroller that belong to the county in the amount of $6,300.63
Sheriff Keith Merritt was authorized to apply for the 2013 Bullet Proof Vest Partnership Program Grant. It offers a 50 percent reimbursement for the purchase of vests for officers of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The county’s matching funds are in the budget for this item.
Merritt said, “The grants we apply for are obviously all important. If you had to prioritize grants, not only for the money factor, but for what it does, it’s one grant you always want to participate in.”
He said the increased saving of lives has gone up 13 percent since the program began in 1999. “It’s not only a money saving factor to the county, it’s a lifesaving one,” said Merritt.
Judge Carl Thibodeaux was authorized to sign the Montrose Center Collaboration Agreement which will provide services for Orange County indigent patients that are HIV/AIDS positive. It is part of the Legacy system.
Commissioners approved the report from Ranger Environmental Services on the gas tank removal on the trust property located at 630 W. Davis Loop in Vidor. Signatures are required before the report is sent to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Once TCEQ approves the report, the land will be deeded to the party that paid for half of the cost of the tank removal and report for no additional cost. Doug Manning told commissioners he couldn’t give them a 100 percent guarantee that TCEQ wouldn’t require extra studies, but the report does show there is no contamination to the land.
During the months of April and May the Office of Emergency Management has been in many training classes, some in preparation for the Hurricane Season that began June 1.
Jeff Kelley, department director said the entire office attended the G-197 “Emergency and Special Needs Population” the first week of April.
The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) class on April 17 had 116 students. They participated in the Vidor ISD full scale exercise on May 10.
The staff conducted a county wide full scale exercise on Saturday, May 11 for 149 first responders. Kelley commended Franklin Walters who designed the exercise.
The staff also attended the Advanced Professional Development Series Academy in Austin the week of May 13.
The first training session on the new State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry on May 28 showed additional training would be needed according to Kelley.
They also attended meetings with the Sabine Neches Chiefs Association (SNCA), Orange County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Red Cross and other agencies.
Kelley said they have completed updates for the year, except the debris management plan will now have to be overhauled due to FEMA policy changes. All the changes they made last year will have to be removed.
The first Hurricane Season coordination conference call with the State was scheduled for 2 p.m., Monday.
At the airport, TxDOT Aviation Commission approved the 80×80 Box Hanger Project and they are waiting on the Grant Contract for Judge Thibodeaux to sign. Texas A&M will provide a pavement study on all General Aviation Airports. Currently they are waiting on the report for the Orange County Airport. GEO Environmental closed the monitoring well and they are waiting on the final report from TCEQ. The fuel farm cleaning, inspection and re-certification is completed.
Currently about 15 flights a day are coming into the airport.
Kelley reported a lightning strike to the jail damaged the fire alarm and security cameras. Maintenance is also trying to the fire alarm at the courthouse that was damage by lightning in 2012. Both are covered by insurance minus the deductible. The annual fire extinguisher and fire alarm annual inspection are underway and should be completed soon.