Orange County will begin demolishing and cleaning up the sites of dilapidated houses damaged in Hurricane Rita in 2005.

But that project isn’t enough to improve the county, according to one Oilla Road resident. Roger Quinn asked Commissioners Court Monday to clean up trash and garbage lining roads and scattered in ditches.

“We’ve got trash from one end of the county to the other,” Quinn said.
On Monday, Feb. 18, at 9:30 a.m., Commissioners Court will sit as a review board to hear whether or not property owners will clean up their sites.

Last year, commissioners sent county health inspector Joel Ardoin to look at dilapidated houses that have drawn complaints from neighbors. He cited several of the houses for creating health hazards and violating state health codes.

The county has $96,000 in grant money through the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission to help remove the dilapidated houses. Also Monday, Commissioners Court voted to buy a grappler attachment for $10,000 to fit on road department Gradall machines. The grappler will be used to demolish the damaged houses and remove the debris.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Owen Burton said he had received complaints about an abandoned swimming pool at one of the dilapidated houses. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the county’s road and bridge department could perhaps fill-in the pool with dirt.

Quinn said Orange County has a problem with trash along roads, and he mentioned FM 1442, Hwy. 105, Bessie Heights Road and the roads in the Oilla Road area in Orangefield as examples.

He said a traffic sign has been in a ditch off Oilla Road for weeks and no one has picked it up. Also, vandals in that area have put paint on “Stop” signs.
“Why can’t we get prisoners or pay overtime” to get the trash picked up, he asked commissioners.

He said some of the trash will be washed into Cow Bayou and end up in Sabine Lake.
“It’s going to be hard to keep the whole county clean, but it’s something that needs to be addressed,” Thibodeaux said.

In other business, commissioners voted to award a contract to buy two above-ground fuel tanks from The Hiller Group, the next-to low bidder, for $198,700. The above-ground tanks will be used at the Orange County Airport.

Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose, who oversees the airport, said the low bidder on the tanks could not give a firm price without the possibility of an increase. So he recommended going with the next-to low bid.

Burton said the county ought to consider adding 5 cents to the price of every gallon of fuel at the airport to help pay for the tanks. Dubose said he isn’t opposed to the proposal, but maybe not 5 cents.

Thibodeaux said he opposes the charge, but said he would discuss it more when Commissioners Court has an agenda item about Burton’s proposal.