Orange County Commissioners Court held a short meeting Monday to finish financial business for the year before breaking for the holidays.  The court will not meet until Jan. 7 unless something needs to be done, County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said.  Commissioners approved spending reserve money on items to get the newly-acquired single-engine plane ready to spray for mosquitoes. The county received a federal grant through the Texas Department of Health on the aerial spraying program, including the cost of buying the plane. The county, though, will be spending county money on getting the plane and hangar ready. One of the expenses commissioners approved Monday was $4,573 as the broker’s fee to Jerry Henson, the pilot and mechanic for the Jefferson County Mosquito Control Department. Henson helped find the used plane the county bought and also inspected it before the purchase. The fee is 5 percent of the plane’s price and is a standard broker’s fee.  Also, commissioners voted to send formal documents to the Texas Department of Transportation on the expansion at the Orange County Airport. The cost of the expansion is $5,067,000, with the county responsible for 10 percent, and the rest covered by a grant. The county’s share can include in-kind work by county employees. Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose, who oversees the airport, said the county cleared land for the expansion, which helped the construction bids come in under budget.  The county will be adding a full-length taxiway with a turnaround and a connection with the old taxiway.  Commissioners Court also set up a special budget for the extension service to cover a new diabetes prevention and awareness program. Extension Agent Paul Tacker successfully applied for a grant from the Stark Foundation for the education program. The county will get a total of $245,700 through three years, with $81,900 for the first year.  Also, the court approved adding $1,900 to the office of emergency management to cover a cell phone and overtime for the new assistant emergency management coordinator.

About Margaret Toal