Jeff Kelley, director of Orange County Emergency Management gave commissioners an update on their move into the Orange County Convention and Expo Center on Farm Road 1442. The building will also act as a shelter of last resort for first responders in emergency situations.

“The EOC (Emergency Operations Center) is largely operational, if needed. We’ve got some bugs to work out, but we are way better off already than we were in the AT&T building. We’re getting there. It looks pretty good.”

Back on Monday’s agenda was an item on possible action to create a department to manage the rental side of the Orange County Convention and Expo Center.

“We need to make a decision on this,” said County Judge Carl Thibodeaux.

One event was held last week under special approval that went very well said Thibodeaux. There are around 40 other requests for rental of the building at this time.

“We either assign that particular position to an Orange County employee or Orange County office or we hire somebody that is skilled in that particular form of operation and management paid for by the hotel/motel tax to do the job of taking the rentals, taking the reservations, collecting rental fees and checking the building out after usage. Also, promoting the building around the area for utilization.

“What we’re looking at is that person being paid for out of the hotel/motel tax,” said Thibodeaux. He said it was an approved expenditure for the tax. Wages for that person would not come out of Orange County general funds.

The individual that will be handling that portion of the building will be housed at the building in the AgriLIFE extension office.

Thibodeaux told the Expo Center committee to work more on the job description and bring it back to court next week. The court said they would like to have someone in place to start Oct. 1, with the new fiscal year.

Record archive fees go from $5 to $10

Commissioners authorized the County Clerk Karen Jo Vance and District Clerk Vickie Edgerly to raise their current records archive fee from $5 to $10 per document as provided by HB1513. It was posted as effective Oct.1, 2013, but Vance said no one really knows when it is going to be enacted. “Everybody is arguing about stuff.”

As an example, she told Commissioner Precinct 2 Owen Burton, “If you renew your brand, it’s going to go up. Mine is all records, Vickie’s is all court fees. The bad thing, there is a $20 court fee that we don’t even get to keep that goes to the statewide electronic funding thing. This could possibly help us with that unfunded mandate that Lisa has been telling you about that electronic filing. We have to be able to do that by July 2015. It may or may not cost a lot of money. They can bring it over the counter today. It would sort of be like e-mailing documents to me and Vickie. They’re trying to get rid of paper in all offices. I don’t think that’s possible, but if it is, it is. The state is always enacting something they never done themselves,” said County Clerk Karen Jo Vance.

Judge Carl Thibodeaux agreed, “Yeah, the federal government has spent over a billion dollars enacting electronic filing in the VA’s office and it has created an ungodly backlog that is totally out of hand already.”

“I am progressively imaging everything that comes in, but I’ve got a ways to go,” said Vance.

Auction revenues disbursed

Commissioners accepted unanticipated revenues from the online auction in the amount of $104,154.90 from the recent online auction that ended on July 9, 2013. The put the money in a miscellaneous revenues fund in the General Fund then transferred the money to the department the auction items came from when determined. The money was distributed as follows: General Fund- Misc. Fees & Services $11,930.10; Road & Bridge- Road Materials $65,558.44; Orange County Federal Drug Fund- Misc. Fees & Services $1,622.91; County/State Drug Seizure Fund- Misc. Fees & Services $2,411.48; U.S. Department of Justice Fund- Misc. Fees & Services $10.64; and Treasury Forfeiture Fund- Misc. Fees & Services $22,621.33.

Early voting dates and times announced

Commissioners court set the following early voting location and times for the Nov.5, 2013 Constitutional Amendment Election as follows:

Orange Public Library-220 N Fifth St, Orange; Mauriceville First Baptist Church-11540 Hwy 12, Mauriceville; Bridge City Public Works Building-220 Nitsche, Bridge City; and the Raymond Gould Community Center-385 Claiborne, Vidor.

Voting will be conducted 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21 through Friday, Oct. 25 and Monday Oct. 28 through Friday, Nov. 1, with extended hours until 7 p.m., Tuesdays, Oct 22 and October 29.

Notice of the election will appear once in a local newspaper between Oct 6-28.

The command center of Orange County Emergency Management is operational and ready for what September brings. Monitors on the wall will offer valuable information from many sources at the same time. Work areas are separated by half walls to keep strategic areas together but able to communicate with each other easily. 

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.