In a special court session held Tuesday, Jan. 3 the Orange County Commissioners’ Court approved the purchase of seven Dodge Chargers for the Sheriff’s Department.

“Do you need all seven of them at one time, sheriff?” asked County Commissioner Precinct 3 John Dubose.

“Yes sir, to stay on our rotation,” said Orange County Sheriff Keith Merritt. Merritt said an impending price increase is also reason to purchase all the vehicles now.

County Commissioner Precinct 4, Jody Crump asked if all the vehicles were for active, on-the-street law enforcement. “This is boots on the road?” he asked.

The sheriff said “yes” it was for patrol and narcotics, five and two, respectively.
The budgeted item passed without further discussion.

“If anybody gets a chance, go by 1442,” said Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux, referring to the Shelter of Last Resort project that is under construction. “They’ve got the steel going up and they are going to try and pour the last bit of floor this week.”

Jeff Kelley, director of emergency management said the final part of the floor is expected to be poured Thursday. “One of the driveways has been poured, most of the wall panels have been poured, they are laying on the ground in casting beds,” said Kelley. “They’re going to come out and stand all those up at one time.”

On the next item, Dubose moved to postpone the purchasing a 2,000 gallon distributor oil truck while approving the purchase of a side boom mower for Road and Bridge. “I’d like to make a motion to go ahead with the side boom mower and tractor and postpone the oil truck for another 30 days,” he said.

“Thirty days shouldn’t cause us any hardship,” said Les Anderson, county engineer.
The cost of the mower is approximately $63,000, while the oil truck is $158,000
Dubose asked the court to reappoint Jeff Daigle and Matt Browning to a two year term as commissioners on the Orange County Emergency Services District # 2 beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

County Engineer Les Anderson was approached a few months ago by The NRP Group, LLC regarding a request to route a three inch force main within the county right-of-way on Simmons Drive from FM 105 to Tiger Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant. The sewer line would be private and service apartments being built near FM 105. Anderson didn’t know if it was legal to put a private line in a public right of way.

“Where would this line go? Behind the ditch?” asked Dubose.

“Well the current plans that they have provided me show it being underneath the south pavement,” said Anderson.

“Why would they want to do that? I don’t know that I have a problem with granting permission in the county right-of-way for sewer of course because we like to encourage collection systems in the county. I don’t have a problem with that, but I have a problem with it being under the road,” said Dubose. “Why not put it behind the ditch?”

Tom Lassiter, an engineer for the project addressed the court. He said existing utility lines are causing conflicts preventing placement where Dubose suggests.

“I just hate to see us tear up the road if there is any alternative,” said Dubose.

“My question Mr. Lassiter is, knowing the location where it actually is, immediately south of where the apartment complex is being built there is a pipeline that traverses east and west,” said Crump. “There’s no way to get access to that pipeline?”

Lassiter said that was looked at early on, along with many other scenarios and under the pavement was the best solution. The only other solution that might work is running the line on the north side of the road and only slipping under the edge of the pavement where the pavement goes to the edge of the easement. The Water Control and Improvement District was vehemently against putting it on the north side because water lines were there. A meeting of the engineers and the WCID was scheduled for 3 p.m. yesterday. The court did approve the lines going to the north so the engineers could go to their meeting with that information to try and sway the WCID.

In other business the court voted to award the bid on the CIAP Grant Installation of on-site sewage facilities for the Orange County Texas locations totalling $110,604 for seven spray and seven drip systems and one spray and lift station.

The court approved interest earned to date in the amount of $76,852.88; approved of investments in TexPool, Super Investments-general fund, Treasurer Investments-general fund, certificates of deposits and government agencies in the amount of $1,455,726.45; and pledged security collateral for a total of $16,463,473.16 (Wells Fargo Bank $9,861,537.07; Capital One Bank $6,226,119.88; and Orange Savings Bank $ 375,816.21.

The court also adopted the 2012 Investment Policy which contains no changes from the 2011 policy and is in compliance with Local Government Code 116.112 and Government Code 2256.

Bills authorized for payment included: $166,070.64 to Carroll & Blackman, Inc. from the general fund for coastal study for a storm surge in Orange County; $2,300 to Claybar Funeral Home for two cases of indigent funeral expenses, at $1,150 each; $94,233 to O.C.A.D. for first quarter funding due Jan. 1, 2012; and $2,567.31 to Schaumburg and Polk from the general fund for the Shelter of Last Resort.

The payment for the storm surge study is a grant item that will be reimbursed to the county.

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.