There was much discussion Monday at Orange County Commissioners Court on a change order submitted by Cleveland Construction. The request concerned stabilization of the slab for the OC Sheriff’s Office Evidence building to be located on Polk Street.

 County Engineer Les Anderson advised the court to turn down the request for the additional $9,175. He said the  specifications of the contract called for the removal or stabilization of the material under the slab. “The contractor elected to set cement stabilizer material, which is another approach to do that. A change order was submitted. I reviewed the specs, appeared that the specs covered the situation. [Cleveland’s] response back was; he felt that Hurricane Ike contributed to water being held under the slab,” said Anderson.

Commissioner of Precinct 3 John DuBose, moved to turn the change order down. 

Owen Burton, commissioner of Precinct 2 questioned Anderson about the frequently rising water table in Orange County. He felt that the close proximity of the project to the Sabine River could cause a problem that would be “nobody’s fault.” 

“What we ran into was, we pulled the old slab up and the ground was like Jell-o,”  said the Glenn Cleveland, explaining there was more water under the slab than expected.  “So we couldn’t do anything to start with. As for as any stabilization being included in the specifications, I saw no evidence of that.”

Cleveland also stated that a large tap root was in the middle of the slab. “There were several circumstances there you would have had to have x-ray eyes…if you could see moisture in the ground.” His assertion was that it would have to be done anyway. “You can pay me now, or pay me later,” said Cleveland.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux asked for an explanation of what “pay me now or pay me later” meant.

Cleveland  said if they had known of the situation they would have put it in the proposal and it would have been paid at that time. 

Commissioner Precinct 4 Beamon Minton said the contract called for 12 inches of stabilization and the contractor should have asked for the change at the time it was realized additional stabilization was needed; instead of going ahead without the courts approval. After lengthy discussion the court was going to pay the difference of the cost of the 12 inches specified and the 24 to 36 inches required to take care of the problem. Cleveland then said that amount was already factored in.

The court finally agreed to pay the amount with Commissioners John Dubose and Minton voting nay and Thibodeaux breaking the tie, reluctantly.

An agreement with ITT for the implementation of a Surveillance Broadcast Services program at the Orange County Airport was approved unanimously. The service will allow aircraft with Mode S transponders to detect the presence of other planes on their navigational equipment. 

“At some point in time Beaumont is going to lose their radar,” said Commissioner David DuBose. “This is another way of navigating, for pilots to keep track of other aircraft that is in the area.” There would be no cost to the county for the implementation, operation or upkeep of the system. The county only has to supply a 25×25 foot space for the equipment.

 “It will also, at some point in time, allow us to have more precision approaches into our own airport,” he said.

“I think this is a great addition to the Orange County Airport,” said Thibodeaux. “For a county our size, our airport has really made progress in the last ten years. We’re moving up, it’s a great airport for a county our size, no question about it.”

Judge Thibodeaux announced a meeting of the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, a corporation of six counties that will work to fund a study for a hurricane protection system is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., April 20 in Galveston. “There will be some more publicity coming out about it,” said Thibodeaux.

In other business, the court proclaimed Friday as “Orange County Diabetes Day” in honor of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville 5th annual Diabetes Walk and Blood Drive scheduled for March 26. Members of the staff and board from the school district were present to receive the honor. 

Also recognized was the 100th anniversary of Mount Olive Baptist Church. The church resumed services Sept. 13, 2009, exactly one year after Hurricane Ike hit Orange County. The congregation will celebrate “A Century of Blessings” this week on Palm Sunday.

Action was also taken to replace Commissioner Beamon Minton on the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission Executive Board with Commissioner David Dubose. It was passed unanimously.

Approved by the court was the trade-in of two 2005 Dodge D150 trucks towards the purchase of a 2010 Ford Expedition XLT for the sheriff’s department with an estimated cost of $14,601.08 after trade-in. The purchase will be funded from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund.

After a short closed session with the Assistant County Attorney Douglas E. Manning, the court reconvened and agreed to advertise for sealed bids on a piece of county property.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.