A hazard mitigation grant program set for Feb. 4, and specifically for Orange Countians, may lead to some property buyouts of damaged homes, Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelley told commissioners Monday.

Funding for buyouts will become available in the near future, Kelley said, however, he warned that eligibility requirements are many. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the 128th District Courtroom at the courthouse on Division Avenue.

“This is just the first step to try to find out what all is out there, and give everybody their paperwork,” Kelley said. “Then, [we can] find out through that process how many of those folks who responded are actually eligible.”

Residents of incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county, and in the cities of  Bridge City, Pinehurst, Pine Forest, Rose City, Vidor and West Orange are invited. 

(County officials will be on-hand to answer questions. For more information, call emergency management at 882-7895).

Also Monday, commissioners voted to suspend a capital outlay freeze on county purchases. The freeze was in effect since Hurricane Ike. County Treasurer Vergie Moreland said the county was “in good shape” with some $11.9 million in the bank and tax monies due in shortly.

In other business:

• County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the landfill issue would be on next week’s agenda. There will be a discussion of whether or not to open the site to non-hurricane related debris. Things seemed to be progressing at the landfill, Kelley said. Debris items must be processed by FEMA and “signed off” on as hurricane debris.

“FEMA is looking at every single item out there,” he said. “But something that we called questionable early on – they’re signing off on it and saying it’s eligible.”

• Commissioners approved a waiver of the set hotel fee limit ($150) for county officials to travel to Golden Triangle Days in Austin, set for March 1-3. The event was formerly known as Orange County Days.

“The government rates just aren’t what they used to be in Austin,” Thibodeaux said. “My first Orange County Day, I paid $85 … but that was 14 years ago.” Rates this year range from $150 plus tax, $189 plus tax and $229 plus tax, he said.