Residents on Pine Bluff Road will not be stranded when culvert construction soon starts. The Orange County Commissioners’ Court approved authorizing County Judge Carl Thibodeaux to sign the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the construction of a temporary detour. The detour will be necessary while the culvert is being replaced on an unnamed tributary of the Sabine River on Pine Bluff Road. Clark Slacum, county engineer, said this is a Texas General Land Office project.

Owen Burton, Precinct 2 commissioner, asked if this project would affect drainage because fill dirt will be added to the tributary. Slacum said it would not affect drainage. Burton also asked how long the project will take to complete. Slacum answered a month or less and residents will be able to enter and exit their neighborhood.

Commissioners also approved the Road & Bridge Department to utilize budgeted funds for the purchase of road building materials. 

Slacum said the project requires a chip-seal aggregate which also a GLO project. The GLO will reimburse the county dollar for dollar for expenses. The materials will be stocked at the Orange County Airport at the site where the hold FEMA camps were housed for the hurricanes.

Douglas Manning, assistant county attorney, announced after closed session the county will negotiate in good faith in mediation for the Montano v. Orange County, Texas case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas- Beaumont Division. Manning said he could not comment further because proceedings were headed to mediation.

Penny LeLeux, of the The Record Newspapers, informed the commissioners’ court of National Dance Day from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 26 at the Riverfront Pavilion. There will be performances and audience participation at the dance event. The Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau is partnering with LeLeux for the event. 

LeLeux said the event has drawn lots of attention with over 4,500 visits on What’s Happening Orange County Facebook page and over 300 shares on the Facebook page and the website. She added this is an Orange County event and not just a city of Orange event.

Kids from the Orange County Players will be performing. There will also be zumba and line dancing.  Attendees may bring coolers but no glass containers and no pets. 

The Transportation and Personnel Departments gave reports to the commissioners. Donna Minter, transportation director, reported one van has been out for over a year. The van has front air conditioner  and loss of power issues. Another van has been out with front air conditioner issues since June. Another van was having catalytic converter issues which is a warranty item.

Jill Shores, personnel director, reported on the employee health care insurance presentation from last week’s meeting. Thibodeaux announced there will be a work shop on the matter on July 28.

There are current job openings for a mechanic and seasonal help in Road & Bridge, seasonal help in Mosquito Control, a senior accountant/internal auditor, an Auditing Clerk III and an opening in Adult Probation.

There was also a retirement in Adult Probation. There were resignations for a housekeeper in Maintenance, Clerk III in the District Clerk office, a Clerk II in the Tax Office and a Jailer in the Sheriff’s Office. Two full-time jailers where hired in Sheriff’s Office, one part-time extra help in MIS, one full-time housekeeper in Maintenance, four part-time in Mosquito Control, one part-time driver in Transportation, five part-time seasonal extra help in Road & Bridge and one part-time bailiff.

Donna Scales, park director, reported to the court her office has been receiving complaints because there isn’t enough parks personnel to maintain the county’s parks. Scales said she has two full-time workers and one who works on the weekends. She requested two part-time employees for the department. She added the last time she had part-time employees was April 2014. 

“We’re stretched too thin,” she said.

 Thibodeaux said the issue is becoming a health and safety issue due to lack of personnel to do upkeep. The motion was approved.