Probably next week, Orange County commissioners will approve recent changes to the articles of incorporation of the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, a nonprofit government corporation.

In addition to Orange County, already signed on with the district are Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston and Jefferson counties.

When Harris County considered joining the district about a month ago, Commissioner Steve Radack raised objections to the original bylaws that would have allowed the entity to issue bonds and commit members to debt while absorbing some of the emergency management duties vested in county judges.

So Harris County wrote its own version eliminating those provisions and limiting the corporation’s authority to conducting studies and formulating recommendations.

Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said in a regular court session this week, that after reading a lengthy e-mail from former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels – he will recommend the court pass the changes.

“[The changes] don’t hurt us in any way shape or form,” Thibodeaux said. “And actually, the short of the story is that they actually protect the county against long-term liabilities – and are a lot better than the original articles of incorporation were.”

Meanwhile, he added, the Orange County Economic Development Corp. is going ahead with its own hurricane protection plans.

“We have not wavered,” he said. “We have stuck to our time table and we’re going to be proceeding on our own instead of waiting to see what this [district] will do in a six-county area. It’s not going to be a waste of time. Should we get down the road and things start proceeding forward, we can incorporate our plan into [the district’s] because we’re already ahead of them. We’re not going to wait on six counties to make up their mind on what to do. We’re moving forward ourselves as far as we can economically.”

BC historical marker on the

County commissioners, meeting in special session this week agreed to pay $1,500 to the Texas Historical Commission (THC) for a marker to be placed at the 1940 Cow Bayou swing bridge that leads out of Bridge City on Texas 87.
The Bridge City Citizens for Historic Preservation applied for marker status this past November to the THC through the Orange County Historical Commission.
Soon after, the swing bridge was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, a division of the National Park Service.
The historical marker will be the first in Bridge City, “with more to come” said Mark Dunn with the Bridge City Historical Museum.
The electric-powered bridge was dedicated in 1941. When THC officials announced its nomination, one of the other locations named was a section of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where President Kennedy was taken after his 1963 fatal shooting.
The Cow Bayou Bridge will become the seventh historic property in Orange County listed in the National Register, including First Presbyterian Church in Orange and the Navy Park Historic District. In Jefferson County 20 such properties are on the National Register.
Each year the THC’s team of architects, archeologists and historians reviews more than 13,000 projects.
The 1938 Rainbow Bridge crossing the Neches River on Texas 87 South was named to the register in 1996. It is listed as being in Jefferson County, and not Bridge City or Orange County.

Animal shelter a dead issue?
The issue of an animal shelter built and maintained by Orange County, which commissioners seem to address every few years because of complaints about strays, may not make it to the November ballot.

Thibodeaux and Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose requested information regarding a non-binding vote from Melanie Best with the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Division Staff. The query would ask voters for a “yes” or “no” on supporting a future shelter.

Best replied on March 1 that the county would need statutory status, and that it would not be possible to add the proposition without incurring county funds (such as paying someone to count ballots).
Best, citing the Texas Local Government Code, said a county with a population of less than 40,000 may hold a non-biding referendum on any matter affecting county property. However, she continued, the county’s population exceeds 40,000, according to the 2000 census.