Arnold asks Orange City Council to return to work
Suspended Orange Police captain Robert Arnold took the podium to ask the City of Orange to considering the repeal of his suspension on Tuesday. Arnold told the City Council that he was cleared of wrongdoing by the Texas Rangers and other outside investigations.
“The city’s investigation was flawed,” Arnold said. “I acted according to the law and also by the orders of the city covering situations such as this. As a State Trooper I could have served anywhere in the state, I chose to come home to Orange. I also wanted to serve on the police force here. I ask the city to return me to my occupation.”
In other citizen comments, Ed Hawthorne expressed concerns about future election voting with the same machines as the city now has.
“We had some serious problems with the voting in the last election,” Hawthorne said. “The city needs to change or upgrade the equipment and teach people how to use it. Unless things are done right we will have some serious problems in the next election.”
The public hearing on the redistricting process opened with Alan Borjorquez explaining the exhibition of the maps showing the redistricting.
“We have a proposal that meets the legal requirements of ‘one person, one vote’. Going into this we had one district that was too large and one that was too small. We have corrected that and we have made sure that District 3 will keep its minority voting intact. District 4 was under populated and we had to move some people into District 3. Right now we have maps A and B ready for viewing. They will be placed in the city library for citizens to view. We will have a map C after it has been approved by the city council. At this point map C is what is called an internal map. It has to be reviewed by the City Council before it can be put out for viewing.” Borjorquez said.
October 14 will be the deadline for any citizen’s group to draw up their own map and submit it for consideration October 19 will be the deadline for input from the City Council.
After one comment by a citizen who said she did not want to be moved into another district because the new district would break up her neighborhood, the public hearing was closed.
A resolution was passed that allowed the City of Orange to join other area cities in requesting that the State of Texas places $45 million in the I-10 Corridor project. This project would complete the updating of I-10 from Adams Bayou to Simmons Drive.
Also approved was to give the City Manager the authority to enter into a contract with Schaumburg & Polk, Inc. for the engineering work on a septic receiving station. The station would allow septic waste to be dumped and collected by a vendor and then processed at another site. The station would be operated by the city and provide income to the city.
City Manager Shawn Oubre asked for contract approval of a new contract between the city and the International Association of Firefighters Local 1432. The contract would give city firefighters a 2 percent raise in salary and the city would absorb the cost increase in the firefighter’s insurance program. The contract was approved by the council.
The council approved a resolution between the City of Orange and the East Texas Housing Finance Corporation. This resolution was necessary for the developer of a senior citizen’s housing project in Hardin County to obtain funding for the project.
A resolution was presented that would allow Orange Lease Housing Associates, I, Limited Partnership an allocation of federal tax credits so that the Partnership could move forward with the rehabilitation of the Fox Run Apartments.
The property is a Section 8, rent controlled property that is already under a tax credit, tax exempt status. Several council members expressed concern that this resolution would extend the tax exempt status for an unacceptable time period. Councilman Bill Mello made a motion to table the resolution until more information was obtained about the future tax exempt status of the property. The motion to table the issue passed.
Also approved was the awarding of a contract to Philpott Ford for the purchase of four new police vehicles at a cost after trade in of the old vehicles of $80,838.96. The city will use Buyerboard pricing for the purchase.