Issue of recycling center to go to public hearing
This week during a meeting of Orange County Commissioners, Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux had to remind a citizen to direct his comments to the court.
It all began last week when a recycling business, who also owns a similar type business in Liberty County, requested an exemption of the existing ordinances. The ordinances have been put into effect for junk yards and automotive wrecking yards to make the property not appear as an “eyesore” in the community and for safety reasons. The ordinance was approved in May 2008.
The business plans to recycle metals and sell them to businesses such as Gerdeau Steel. The business will process vehicles for their metals too in addition to other sources. A person representing the business stated vehicles on the property would only be there for up to a week while being processed.
The action was tabled until this week so county officials could meet with the business owner to gather more information.
John Banken, Pct. 3 Commissioner, said he had met with the business owners and County Engineer Clark Slacum to discuss the issues.
“I say that we allow them to move forward,” Banken said.
However, Pct. 4 Commissioner Jody Crump also voiced an opinion.
Crump said he has an issue with automobiles coming in and concerned about nearby land values decreasing because of the recycling business. He added he also wondered how long the automobiles would actually be stored at the business.
Pct. 2 Owen Burton agreed with Crump and added he thought the business may do well with complying at first, but things change and businesses change hands and the new owners may not follow through with the agreement.
It was Yank Peveto who became a bit loud when talking about the possibility of the recycling business being in Orange County. After saying, “they make a mess and we will clean it up,” he turned to the business owner sitting in the audience and said loudly, “You will have a fight on your hands.”
Thibodeaux told Peveto to direct his comments to the court.
After a vote, it was decided not to allow the exemption. However, the business owners can apply for a license anyway. As a result, the county will hold a public hearing at a later date to discuss the issue further.
In other county business, the county clerk, Karen Jo Vance, was given approval by the court to allow deputy/IT clerk Michael Gilbert to attend the VG Young Institute of County Government Conference in College Station from January 13 -16.
Since a Nov. 4 meeting, commissioners took action allowing only mandated travel by county employees. It was stated since the start of the budget year, there has been a “mass exodus” of employees incurring traveling expenses to obtain training and commissioners were only trying to hold down “unnecessary” travel.
A motion was made to put into effect immediately that all department heads are to make a list of mandated travel for the budget year up through the last day of Sept.
Banken in a previous meeting suggested instead of three people from a department attending training, that only one attend and they train the others. In addition, there was an inquiry if “webinars” could be done instead of traveling.