Emergency Management Director Jeff Kelley informed commissioners it is time to start keeping an eye on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) “The 14 day outlook is bleak,” said Kelley.

About half the county is at 700-800 on the chart, which is the highest numbers listed. The rest of the county is sitting at 600-700.

Rain is expected at the end of the week, but Kelley doesn’t think it will be enough to have much impact. “It’s not looking positive for the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Orange County Engineer Clark Slacum reported the volume of traffic at the Citizen’s Collection Site dropped off sharply in the first month a fee schedule was put in place. Currently, about 100 residents have utilized the site on days it is open versus the normal 200-300.

Revenues raised for the first month are $12,200. Slacum also feels that customers are separating out their recyclables more than before, since it would lower their cost. He feels people may be waiting until they have a full load instead of coming more frequently because of the fees. The reduction in volume also saved the county money because they had to pay half the dumpsters than normal.

Slacum also reported that illegal dumping is much less than expected.

SETRPC ups county reimbursement for transportation

The court authorized Judge Thibodeaux to sign amendment 2 to the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission transportation contract with Orange County. It offers the county an additional reimbursement of $27,500 for fuel and maintenance costs this year.

HOT tax to pay for airport ad

Commissioners approved an advertisement for the Orange County Airport in the 2013 Explore Orange County Magazine at the cost of $1,300.00. Commissioner Owen Burton suggested using Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funds since the ad promotes tourism in Orange County. Bobby Fillyaw, director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation agreed the ad would qualify to be paid by the HOT funds. The motion passed unanimously.

Guidelines for Convention and Expo Center approved

Guidelines for the Orange County Convention and Expo Center rentals were presented for approval by a committee created by the court. Commissioners approved the guidelines but tabled agenda items of creating a department and position to manage the rental side of the facility.

Orange County resident Jerry Wilson suggested putting the rental facility under the direction of Donna Scales and the OC Parks during the open comments part of the session.  “She’s done a great job,” he said.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.