During the Monday meeting of Orange County Commissioners, they voted to join Bridge City in their efforts to appeal the new FEMA flood plain maps.

Bridge City signed a contract Saturday with Lonnie G. and Associates, a civil engineering and land surverying consultants firm from Grand Chenier, La., to file an appeal.

“If you don’t appeal, then it stays the same,” said Pct. 3 County Commissioner John Banken.

There is a Dec. 24th deadline to file the appeal. Bridge City has committed to paying the full $85,000 cost. However, if other local entities decide to join in on the appeal process then the cost is split between all involved.

Presented in court was a map showing where the firm had successfully won an appeal for Cameron Parish, La. Originally, Cameron also faced a large amount of their area being in a flood zone after FEMA presented them with a new flood plain map. However, once the firm completed the appeal, the maps were changed. Now, there is much less of the parish in the flood zone.

‘It’s very probable the same mistakes made in Cameron Parish are the same mistakes made here,” said Joel Ardoin, director of code and compliance for Orange County.

In the end, commissioners voted to join Bridge City in the appeal process for the unincorporated areas of the county, but not sign any contracts at this time. They hope to have representatives from Lonnie G. and Associates give a presentation in the near future. The firm was unable to attend the meeting Monday because they were working with an impending deadline on the appeal for Bridge City and looking to work on Orange County maps, too.

At the request from the city of Orange, county officials are looking to move a trailer once used by the Oragne County probation office. The trailer is located on Border Street which is not zoned for trailers. It was allowed to be placed there temporarily until a new building could be built which is now located on Border Street across from the courthouse. The former probation office was destroyed during Hurricane Ike in 2008. County officials will have to file for a title on the trailer. After receving the title, the trailer will be sold.

Commissioners approved action allowing Orange County Sheriff Keith Merritt to enter into an agreement with Spillman Technologies for the purchase of new computer software. This is not on the budget for capital outlay, but will be paid for using Federal Asset Forfeiture Funds. According to Merritt, the current system with Indico, has been failing and they freuqently use a temporary  “band-aid” to keep it going. Merritt put a team together to go to other agencies to check out their systems. They looked at all vendors to find the best match for their needs.

According to Merritt, the new system will help cut response times and help with fuel costs. Dispatchers can see, with the help of  a GPS system, the location of the nearest officer in order to see who is closest to the location needed.

The annual maitenance costs of the contract will be the same as now at $33,450 per year. Spillman Technolgies has been in business for more than 30 years and is a nationwide company. They have more than 1,000 customers with some of them in Texas.

In other county business, commissioners apprroved action to allow Tina Barrow, the Orange County Election Administrator, to attend an Election Administrator Mid-Winter Conference, January 8th through the 10th. The travel expenses are reimbursable by Chapter 19 state grant funds.

The County Engineer, Clark Slacum, was given permission to issue County Road Crossing permits to Enterprise Liquids LLC. The company plans to install a new natural gas line from Lake Charles, La. to Beaumont. The proposed route will cross county road right of ways on Hoo Hoo, Duhon and Lebouf Roads. The company has completed the permit process and presented a bond to the county for $20,000 per crossing. The NGL should not interfere with traffic since it is under the roadways.

Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said there was “nothing at this time” on any action regarding the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Union contract.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Thibodeaux said.