Sheriff Keith Merritt and Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelley got approval from commissioners Monday to apply for a grant that could put a security boat at the Orange port.

A federal grant that specifically caters to ports does not require matching funds and would be at no cost to the county. The county only owes $2,500 to Jeffery Ward and Associates for assistance on the grant.

The boat could be used to escort vessels and for search and rescue missions; and would be able to fit more people than the county’s existing nine-year-old search/rescue water vessel. At present, most routine escort services have to be arranged through neighboring counties.

Merritt said he hoped to purchase the Coast Guard-type watercraft from the Washington, D.C.,-based company Safe Boat, which has international contracts with military organizations.

If the county doesn’t get the grant on the first try, it can repeat its application as many times as it wants, Kelley said.

At press time, Merritt was waiting on information from Safe Boat before proceeding. He said he expected the cost to be between $250,000 and $300,000, probably closer to the latter figure. He told The Record the model purchased would be 25, 27 or 29 feet in length.

Radio stolen
Commissioners approved inventory removal of an MTS portable radio stolen from a county vehicle. Some personal items of a county employee were stolen as well, Merritt said. The radio’s identifying information has been placed in national databases, but the sheriff doesn’t expect to hear anything of it. “The employee had it turned off to transmit or receive,” he said. “Once [the thief or thieves] find out it doesn’t work, I’m sure they’ll just chunk it somewhere.”

Storage unit
Commissioners approved to pay $5,581 for two storage units to be placed at the AgriLife Extension Office in Mauriceville. Paula Tacker, county extension agent for family and consumer sciences, made the request. Of the two units, only one will have electricity, she said.