Some residents are calling commissioners about household garbage that can’t be dumped in the county landfill on Farm Road 1442.

Since the storm, the dump site has been designated for hurricane debris and used by county work crews.

Commissioners John Dubose and Beamon Minton said in commissioners’ general session Monday that people with non-hurricane related trash have no place to take it.

“I understand why [the emergency order was done] and I agree with that,” said Dubose. “I haven’t got any calls from my precinct (Precinct 3) but have gotten some from Precinct 2. They don’t have hurricane-related stuff, but they have stuff they need to take to the dump and they can’t do it.”

“It’s being done as a favor and a service to those citizens to help them out,” said County Judge Carl Thibodeaux. “And right now if you ‘open that door’ you’ve got the big trucks coming in throwing trash every single day; you’ve got traffic control there every single day. You all want to open it? Go ahead, but I’m dead set 100 percent against it. I’m catching as much heat as the rest of you, but you’ve got to have some kind of recovery period at this time. I’ve told some people to put their stuff out in the street and [county crews will] pick it up.”

Dubose said, “The problem is there are some areas where that doesn’t apply, because [those weren’t] hurricane-related. I’ve been telling people to put [their trash] on the street too, but that only works when it’s picked up.”

The county will continue to pick up hurricane debris until Dec. 31, Thibodeaux said.

Also Monday, commissioners approved the electrical rewiring of the Roundbunch swing bridge over Cow Bayou in Bridge City.

Jefferson Electric Co. of Beaumont has given a cost estimate of $165,745. Another $11,000 would be needed for electric motor work, said County Engineer Les Anderson.

Jeff Kelley, emergency management coordinator, said, “There could possibly be some historical implications to that bridge … It could benefit us in the money to repair it, but may hamper us in the future in replacing it or modifying it, or adding to it or taking away from it.” 

The bridge was built circa 1929 and transported to Orange County around 1962. Hurricane Ike caused the wiring damage and made the bridge impassable by road.

Dubose said, “Believe me I’d like to fix that bridge to where we never have any problem with it … but I don’t think we have a great deal of choices.”

Thibodeaux added, “It’s a major thoroughfare in the county and it does need repair … and maritime law supersedes highway law.” 

Commissioners also approved to hire Jeff Ward and Associates to pursue mitigation grants available because of Hurricane Ike.

Mitigation is defined as actions taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to life / property from hazards; reducing the need for emergency response as opposed to improving ability to respond. 

Activities under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program include elevation of flood-prone structures, buyouts of property that qualifies and minor flood control projects. 

Projects are funded with a ratio of 75 percent federal monies to 25 percent local. The application deadline is March.