Early voting for the March primary races will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at four sites around the county, Orange County Commissioners Court decided Monday.
Election Administrator Tina Leverette said the early voting will begin on Tuesday because Monday, Feb. 18, is a holiday. The sites will be at the Orange Public Library, 220 N. Fifth St.; the Bridge City Public Works Building, 220 Nitsche; the Mauriceville First Baptist Church, 11540 Highway 12; and the Raymond Gould Community Center in Vidor, 385 Claiborne St.

Early voting will be from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 through Saturday, Feb. 23, and then Monday, Feb. 25 through Friday, Feb. 29. Voting for the Republican and Democratic primaries will be conducted at the sites.

Patricia Kemp, chair of the Orange County Republican Party, said she and the candidates for precinct chairs are the only local candidates. In the Democratic primary, local contested races include sheriff, two county commissioner seats and four constable positions.

Commissioners Court met Monday for the first time in three weeks because of the Christmas-New Year holidays.

In other business, the court agreed to expenditures at the Orange County Airport, including transferring $230,000 from the county building fund to capital outlay for the mosquito control aerial spraying project. The money will be used to pay for new taxiways, a concrete foundation for a new hangar, and the erection of a prefabricated hangar. The county received a grant to buy a used plane, equipment and a hangar for the aerial spraying program.

Also, the court awarded a bid of $196,660, the low bid, for two above-ground fuel tanks at the airport. Each tank will hold 12,000 gallons. The addition of the new tanks is part of an expansion and improvement at the airport. Most of the costs of the airport improvements are being paid with a state grant. However, the county will pay about $73,000 to cover the cots of the fuel tanks.

Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose, who oversees the airport, said the new fuel tanks will have a computerized credit card system to allow fuel to be bought at night. Currently, the fixed-based operator at the airport quits selling fuel at 7 p.m.

Commissioners also approved spending $5,000 for soil testing at an area off Bailey Road on Sabine Lake for a proposed fishing pier. Dubose said the county has been trying to get a grant for the pier but has been unsuccessful. In December, a board member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department came to the area and said the department would need soil testing for construction of the pier. Dubose said he hopes the costs of the soil testing can be reimbursed if the county receives a grant for the pier.