Mosquitoes: County under siege
Although mosquitoes were not on the agenda Monday, Patrick Beebe of Orange County mosquito control spoke on behalf of a resident, Poland Guillot, when the court opened for discussion items not on the agenda.
“He made me promise I would come to the court and ask a question, so I told him I would. His question was due to the present mosquito situation which is extremely bad. Everyone in this room knows that,” said Beebe. “He wanted to know if I or this court could ask that a federal judge waive the restrictions on the use of residual materials used by mosquito control operations or public health programs.”
After a short discussion, Thibodeaux told Beebe if Guillot called again, tell him, “That’s a congressional issue to be taken up in Washington by changing the bills that support the EPA,” said Thibodeaux.
John Dubose said, “I appreciate that judge, but I also appreciate the fact that Patrick is doing all he can with what he’s allowed to use and it’s not working. It’s not working as effectively as it needs too. We’re getting absolutely killed with phone calls about mosquitoes.”
County Attorney Doug Manning said, “On the commercial side, the concentrations on some of the pesticides we have to apply are weaker than some of the things you can buy at Home Depot for personal applications. You can buy and mix-up a product and put on your lawn that’s many times stronger than he’s allowed to spray. Our hands are tied.
“It’s one of those things that kind of upsets me because we’re all here and we see the big pink elephant in the room and congress and our state government wants to ignore it because they’re not as burdened with mosquitoes in Austin as we are down here. It doesn’t affect them.”
Commissioner Precinct 2 Owen Burton said many people get worried when those products mention West Nile Disease and other things carried by mosquitoes.
“Fortunately to date, we have not detected any disease activity in the county through collections we have had,” said Beebe.
“I contacted all the surrounding counties and parishes and we’re all under siege, Cameron, Calcasieu, Jefferson County, Chambers, Houston, it’s a coastal thing. It was brought about by those high tides. The full moon didn’t help.
“We’re all in the same boat right now. Everybody is wide open and trying to do all they can. It just doesn’t seem to be enough right now,” said Beebe.
Orange County kept its burn ban in place on the recommendation of Jeff Kelley, Emergency Management director. The week’s rain “didn’t even wiggle the needle on the KBDI,” said Kelley. “We are at what the 7-14 day prediction last week said. We are solidly in the 700 range with a high of 736 in some areas of the county.” He said next week the county will likely be averaging 750. Kelley said the fire departments did battle fires over the week and said it would be best to keep the burn ban in effect.
Owen Burton brought up an item to be put on the Nov.7 agenda concerning possibly accepting wood and “green waste” at the landfill during times the county is under a burn ban.
Drought conditions have caused the cancellation of the trout release at Claiborne West Park. Donna Scales, park director said the ponds were so low they would not support the trout that are usually stocked in the spring. She does not expect that condition to change, so she did not order fish for the pond. Some trees are also dying due to dry conditions and have to be removed.
The park is now closing at 5 p.m. daily due to earlier nightfall.
Two proclamations were issued Monday.
The court proclaimed Thursday, Oct. 27 as “Pearl Burgess Day.” Burgess’ family holds a big part in Orange County history with both grandfathers and a great-uncle being county judges. She lost several family members, all brothers in separate gunfights. Read more of Pearl’s history in a separate article In The Record.
A proclamation naming October “National Domestic Violence Awareness Month was presented to Cindy Fertitta, primary prevention specialist/education coordinator, Rape and Suicide Crisis of Southeast Texas
I come twice a year up here to talk about family violence or sexual assault. Hopefully one day I won’t have to come up here.” She thanked the court, law enforcement and media for their continued efforts to help end domestic violence.
“When your children come home and tell you they’re being bullied, please do something about it. We still believe if you hold bullies accountable, it saves lives latter. If you see a bruise or see something wrong, never be afraid to say something.”
Three items on the agenda had to do with the collection of business personal property for delinquent taxes. The court issued a resolution authorizing the taxation of “Goods in Transit” as defined by 11.253 of the Texas Property Tax Code. It was also decided that the list of delinquencies will be turned over to Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP April 1, which is three months earlier than the usual date of July 1 under the early penalty provisions of section 33.11 of the Texas Property Tax Code relating to delinquent tangible personal property. Steve Bird, representing the law firm, said the earlier date gives a better opportunity to recover more of the property for the county.
A direct deposit from the State Comptroller of $290,832.24 was received representing the ½ cent sales and use allocation for the month of August.
A reimbursement for road materials in the amount of $24,950.07 was received from the City of Bridge City.
Bills paid included $4,142.05 to Schaumburg and Polk for the general fund for shelter of last resort, general fund $293,810.14; road and bridge $2,938; mosquito control $10,120.95; adult probation $1,871.02; and other funds $1837.10 for a total of $318,772.59
Tax Assessor-Collector Lynda Gunstream certified the taxes levied on the 2011 tax rolls for the county are $25,388,031.39 and for FM $238,280.63. On the delinquent tax rolls, the county is just below a quarter of one percent below last year with $2,354,010.57 for county and $25,812.41 for FM.