Joel Ardoin, director of health and code compliance of Orange County, spoke before the Commissioners’ Court on Monday, Feb. 14 to discuss the progress of the 2007-2009 Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) as well as the process for submitting the 2009-2010 CIAP program application.

Orange County was awarded $737,196.04 in 2007 to implement the counties on-site facility project. For the second round of funding in 2008, as of Feb. 2011, the State has not received plan approval, but anticipates receiving it by the end of the first quarter of 2011. When the State receives it, the County can apply for it.

In Oct. 2010, the county publicized the award and application for homeowners to apply for either tying in to existing sewer-water systems or replacing or fixing malfunctioning on-site sewer facilities. The deadline was Dec. 31, 2010 and the county received over 150 applications. In March 2011, a prioritization committee will meet to prioritize the applications. A one through five rating system will be used. One’s and two’s will go first, and so on.

In April 2011, the applicants will be notified if they have been accepted to the program. In June 2011, the county plans to bid and award the contracts for work. In July 2011, replacement or tie-in work will begin.

For the 2009-2010 CIAP plan, the county recommends a continuation of on-site sewage facility upgrade to use the funds to support up to 300 or more applicants.

“This will meet [the] Court’s criteria as it addresses an area of critical need,” said Ardoin. “It’s free of issues that could affect timely implementation and can be recommended with cost allocated by the CIAP program at no cost to the county.”

Orange County has also included a Tier II project. This will help jurisdictions within Orange County that have existing sewer-water systems extend their lines to reach more Orange County residents. The inclusion of this project does not affect funding in the Tier I project and it does not come out of the funds currently used to set up.

“Other jurisdictions that don’t use their allocated funds, they don’t want that to go to some other project outside of what it was intended for, so it goes back into the pot that we can apply for,” said Ardoin.

The Commissioners authorized the submittal of the Tier I and Tier II Orange County Plan to be included in the General Land Office State CIAP Plan. Upon State Plan approval, Orange County can apply for two additional years, one for $527,350.97 and another for $521,935.80, totaling $1,049,286.77.

Tax office reorganization

The Commissioners approved the reorganization of customer service in the tax office proposed by Lynda Gunstream, Orange County tax assessor-collector. This would equip all counter clerk’s workstations to have the ability to do both tax and motor vehicle transactions. To make this possible, four additional RTS workstations must be leased from the Texas Department of Transportation.

“TXDOT only allows us so many of, what we call, RTS equipment,” said Gunstream. “We’re required to lease [the rest].”

Gunstream gave an estimated budget for this year of $4,300 for these workstations. One workstation includes monitor, CPU, keyboard, printer, software, support, and cash drawer.

Other business

Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose addressed the court about the crop dusters working out of the Orange County Airport this last weekend. He said there is no cause for concern and there is nothing toxic in the spray.

“They are fertilizing some trees for timber companies and they are also fertilizing some areas they are intending to plant trees,” Dubose said. “These guys are skilled crop dusters.”

The Commissioners accepted the letter of retirement of Judge Michael W. Shuff from the office of Orange County Court at Law, which is effective on Sunday, Feb. 27.

Total bills paid this week are $434,265.71.

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