The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will be purchasing three new Chargers at an estimated cost of $90,015 with trade-ins of two 2008 Dodge Police Chargers and a 2005 Chrysler 300 seized vehicle. These vehicles were approved as capital outlay expenditures for the sheriff’s department. The sheriff was also authorized to purchase a 2012 Toyota Tundra for use in the narcotics division known as special services. This vehicle will be purchased with drug forfeiture money. Later, four other vehicles will be sold on the counties auction Web site to help offset the cost of the Tundra. Sheriff Keith Merritt said, “We’ll be using the county online auction for the first time. We have four vehicles we’ll be auctioning off. The reason that we’re doing that is because the four vehicles we’re auctioning off were purchased with drug seizure money, back before I became sheriff. That money has to be kept separate. It can’t be intermingled with budgeted cars that we are gonna get.” Merritt will bring the issue to have the four vehicles removed from the county assets to the court before the auction. “We haven’t put the four on auction yet, because we’re still trying to get all the paperwork in order,” said Merritt.

The sheriff’s office is ultimately reducing the department’s fleet by three vehicles.

Christy Khoury informed commissioners the total amount of interest paid on the Tax Anticipation Note with Wells Fargo was $52, 867.50 which is a savings of more than $30,000 by paying off the note early. the original estimate of interest  was $86,000 according to County Judge Carl Thibodeaux.

The court also authorized Khoury to sign documents to obtain unclaimed money due the county, held by the State Comptroller in the amount of $166.98.

A direct deposit was received from the state comptroller in the ammount of $438,611.06 for Decembers 1/2 cent sales and use tax. The total is a $48,000 increase over last year.

Thibodeaux signed the Advance Funding Agreement with Texas Department of Transportation on the repai or replacement of the East Roundbunch Swin Bridge. This is the agreement to accept the county’s 10 percent match with inkind work on other projects. “It’s a win-win for us,” said Thibodeaux. The county’s projects will be paid for with Ike Round 2.2 funds

Commissioner Precinct 3 was appointed to the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) stakeholder group for Adams and Cow Bayou watershed areas.

Joe Parkhurst and Wayne LaCombe were reappointed to the Orange County Emergency Services District #3.

Christy Khoury was added to the Orange County Convention and Expo Center committee.

Clark Slacum, county engineer was authorized to attend the 2013 Texas Transportation Forum in Austin Feb. 17-19. It counts as continuing education credits to maintain his certification and is a budgeted item.

Commissioners authorized hiring for several vacant positions including a custodial position, maintenance Tech position that covers air conditioning and refregeration, a bus driver for the transportation department, plus a part-time dispatcher.

The county will begin advertising for proposals for service providers for the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. The court formed a committee to evaluate the proposals on RFP-13001-Telecommunictions for the building and any other matter that comes to the purchasing department for the completion of the building. Departments are not expected to move into the center until April or possibly May.

Commissioners court will meet at 10 a.m. next Monday.

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.