FEMA: housing letters minimal
As reported in the commissioners story on Nov. 11, FEMA sent letters alleging breached agreements which required signers to pledge and subsequently verify efforts to find a new place to live. Applicants are given the chance to correct non-compliance issues within 15 days. Households have 60 days to appeal the decision.
FEMA Public Information Officer Ray Perez told The Record Newspapers that out of seven letters originally to be sent to households in temporary housing units in Galveston, Orange, Jefferson, Chambers and Liberty counties; five were eventually sent and two of those were in Orange County.
Perez said that as of Nov. 13 – Bridge City, which originally had 1301 FEMA mobile homes, was down to 283; and that Orange, which started with 552 units, had decreased to 152. He said 508 households were still listed as living in temporary units in Orange County.
Courthouse basement ‘a done deal’
At this week’s commissioners’ meeting, Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelley was very happy Monday as he reported to commissioners the apparent end of the courthouse basement saga.
After submitting project worksheets for months and getting back less than desired results, at least from the county’s perspective, Kelley said he’d received word that $1.138 million has been granted.
The project will allow the basement, which flooding during Hurricane Ike, to get a makeover in the form of a new building.
“I’m going to sign this today and get the process started,” Kelley said. Adding that the agreement needs some minor “word reworking” he said, “I believe we can close the book on the courthouse basement.” He was accompanied by Matthew Tindale with FEMA and Dan Brogden representing the state.
Kelley said after the meeting he believed the issue was, “a done deal.”
Also Monday, Elections Administrator Tina Leverett reported results submitted to the state in the Nov. 3 Constitutional Amendment election. According to Leverett, 4,826 ballots were counted.
Commissioners did not renew a license for a Vidor salvage yard business at 2695 N. Main St. owned by James Vincent. Vincent had been given 60 days to comply with an established ordinance. He’s seen commissioners every few months for the past year or so over compliance and variance issues.
County Engineer Les Anderson, who inspected the property Monday, said he believed Vincent was in compliance, however, neighbor Debbie Dugas and Commissioner Beamon Minton thought otherwise. Minton pointed out two cars above the fence line in a series of pictures presented by Anderson; and Dugas, a frequent critic of the junk yard, said Vincent had plenty of time to apply for a new permit and adjust his property.
Vincent told the court his permit expired Sunday, however, since Anderson had visited him Monday he believed he had to get renewal permission from commissioners at Monday’s meeting.
Legal advisor Doug Manning said the ordinance established by commissioners states that permits are granted if properties are in compliance and if the permits have never been revoked or expired on the date of application. He recommended salvage yard owners apply for renewal before permits expire, just as one would for driver’s licenses.
“The reason the rules are like that is so people can’t get a permit, operate the business for 15 or 16 months and then only have to answer when they get caught,” he said.
Minton said Manning and Anderson would now discuss whether Vincent could fill out a new application or if the county should file charges.