Orange County commissioners have taken another step in applying for $400,000 in legislative  funding.

During a Dec. 15th meeting, Dwayne Gordy, of the Community Development Education Foundation, gave a presentation to inform commissioners about  SB1747 and the new sections of the Texas Transportation Code. Gordy stated the county could benefit from applying to the available $400,000 in funding prescribed in the legislation. However, the county must first follow guidelines. First of all, they need to create an amended road condition report. They must also create a reinvestment zone. Finally, they need to also have a transportation plan.

During the Dec. 29th meeting Clark Slacum, county engineer, submitted a detailed report to commissioners to comply with the requirements. The report was placed into the minutes of the court.

According to Slacum, one the of report requirements was to show damages by oil and gas activities.

This week they continued their efforts with a public hearing before the weekly meeting. During the hearing commissioners discussed potential boundries and requirements of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone as authorized by the Texas Transportation Code. The county has to designate a reinvestment zone, but can work outside the zone too.

The legislature has set aside $226 million for the funding. It may be possible for the county to get more than $400,000. If not all counties apply or are not qualified to recieve the funding, the amount is still divided but with a possible larger slice of the pie.

“We don’t know the final amount yet,” said Jody Crump, Pct. 4 commissioner.

Not only do they have to gather the necessary paperwork, but also they have to establish a committee. They will look to make the committee up of a minimum of three people and not more than five people. Of the group on the committee, one must be a representative of the oil and gas industry and two tax paying citizens. They may add the county judge and a commissioner to the mix too.

County officials have until Feb. 12 to submit their application and information.
There will be a 20 percent match necessary from the county for the project.

During the meeting portion, commissioners stated there would not be any action taken on the agenda item.  However, it will be done at a later meeting.

In other county business, commissioners discussed whether to allow the county purchasing agent to go out for bids for a storage building at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. There is a $300,000 budget for the project. According to Mark Wimberley, Orange County Maintenance Director, the 4,200 square foot structure will be on 8-inches of concrete wih pipes for reinforcement . The storage building will have stored items that are “palletized” such as water, cots, tables and chairs.

Added into the discussion was the fact that a water well which was planned at the site, will no longer be a part of the plans. County officials will look for other water sources. In the event of something such as a hurricane, water may become a problem because of possible damages to local water plants.

Orange County Emergency Management Director Jeff Kelly told the court he hopes to get a mitigation grant for a water well.

Donna Minter, transportation director, requested the purchase of three radios for the transportation buses. The radios cost $3,670 each. The transportation department can install the radios, but they still have to be programmed.

“This is very important for the drivers to be able to communicate with dispatchers,” Minter said.

The action was approved by commissioners. The county will look for grant reimbursment from the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commssion.

Finally, Joel Ardoin, of the Orange County Code and Compliance Department, announced they are taking applications for the CIAP program. More information is available on the county’s website under the news section or call 409-745-1463.