The Orange County Commissioners decided to join the fight that most of the other counties in Texas are currently fight concerning House Resolution 56.

“The House Joint Resolution number 56 is to encourage a constitutional amendment to be placed in the next general elections ballot to prevent unfunded mandates from the state of Texas and state legislature,” County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said. “We’ve had some battles [in the past] where they’ve cut their expenses or they say that they’re not raising any taxes, etc. What happens is, they raise a lot of fees and pass on some of the costs to the local governments in unfunded mandates that they were required to do.”

An example is indigent defense fund which cost the county around $200,000 a year and they only get back around $35,000.

“The counties throughout the state are all passing this resolution to give to their state reps and their state senators,” Thibodeaux said. “The Texas Association of Counties is battling this very strongly for the benefit of the counties.”

The bills paid this week total $620,203.83. This includes: $131,435 to the Champs fund (which was earmarked specifically for them because of the Hotel/Motel Tax); $3,000 to Wind River Press to help cover the reprinting cost of the books that were damaged at the Heritage House by Hurricane Ike; $228,190.52 to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department for the County’s portion of the regional crime lab budget; and $1,500 to Memorial Funeral Home for indigent funeral expenses.

The commissioners agreed to allow the Transportation Department to build a barn to store vehicles in. The county has seven vehicles that cannot fit in the current barn because of the transportation buses. The money used to build the barn is money that was generated from the county auction in December. The Transportation Department proceeds from the auction total $19,000 and must be put back into the department according to government statues.

The commissioners also agreed to extended the county jail contract with Inmate Telephone, Inc. The county will receive new software, totally $11,000, at no cost. They will also be increasing the county’s commission on inmate phone calls from 52 percent to 53 percent.

The county will be receiving new medium intensity taxi-way lights at the OC Airport soon. The job was estimated to cost $119,000 but the actual job will only cost $110,000. The county will receive $50,000 back from the Ramp Grant.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers