A protective levee around Orange County took another step in becoming a reality at the regular meeting of the Orange County Commissioners’ Court on Monday afternoon.
Commissioners approved County Judge Carl Thibodeaux to sign a right of entry agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the purpose of soil borings and cone penetration testing.

Bobby Fillyaw, director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation, reported the pace has picked up on a storm protection system. Plans for a protective levee started after Hurricne Ike hit the area. Fillyaw said a potential area for the levee has been lined out and the Corps needs access to various properties.

Owen Burton, Precinct 2 commissioner, asked if any of the dredging material created by the widening and deepening of the Neches River could be used for the levee.
Fillyaw answered a designated spoils areas are needed first but there’s a possibility plans could coincide.

Jody Crump, Precinct 4 commissioner, asked if this action committed the county to the area or commit it to funding the project.

Fillyaw said the majority of the proposed route was selected from the county’s schematic diagrams and they can’t make adjustments once the Corps chooses a route. He added there may be a local match component for funding later in the process. “It’ll be well down the road,” Fillyaw said.

Thibodeaux said it isn’t feasible to build the levee behind the Orange County Administration Building on Sixth Street and a retainment wall will be built there instead.
Crump asked if it will take 20 years to build the levee.

Fillyaw said that’s a possibility, but the county was three to five years ahead of schedule because they took the initiative in building the levee. “It’s not an easy process. On January 16 (2015) we’ll have a real good idea the path that lays ahead of us,” he said.

During the open court session, Crump announced there will be a Texas Department of Public Safety mobile unit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the West Orange-Cove CISD old Administration Building, 505 N.15th St. in Orange.

Election Identification Certificates are available without charge to qualified Texas voters who do not already have an approved form of photo ID, which is now required for voting in person, according to the Texas Secretary of State website.

Many Texans already have an approved form of ID and will not need or qualify for an EIC. Acceptable forms of ID in addition to an EIC are:
Texas driver license issued by the Department of Public Safety (DPS)
Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
United States passport
Applicants for an EIC will need to present proof of citizenship and identity. For most applicants that means a birth certificate and two forms of supporting documentation.
For more information, contact the Orange County Elections Administration office at 409-882-7973.

Commissioners approved filling a vacant county employee position in the MIS Department and to bypass the six weeks waiting period to hire new employees.
A committee met and suggested Lisa Reeves, MIS director, to replace the employee.
The court also approved hiring a replacement driver for the Transportation Department.
The previous driver had surgery and he’s been out for nine weeks and the department can’t hold the position as vacant any longer.

Lastly, David W. Smith, commander of the Golden Triangle Militia, reported during the open court session, they were no longer affiliated with the Texas State Militia.
Smith said the Texas State Militia didn’t want to cooperate with the media or with local law enforcement. He added he has met with Mitch Woods, Jefferson County sheriff, the FBI and with Keith Merritt, Orange County sheriff.

Smith said the Golden Triangle Militia is a community watch group in six Southeast Texas counties.