David Ball – For The Record

Some Road and Bridge Department personnel will receive some overtime pay as it was approved at the meeting of the Orange County Commissioners Court on the afternoon of October 13.

Clark Slacum, county engineer, requested the increase to the department’s budget line item for overtime due to them operating the East Roundbunch swing bridge. Vessels frequently require the opening of the bridge outside normal working hours and on weekends.

Road and Bridge personnel also respond to callouts after hours from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to clear the roadways of trees and other debris. During the summer, the crew can work more effectively by utilizing 10 hour days on road construction.

The request was to consider increasing the overtime amount by $20,000.

Slacum said the bridge was opened 300 times last year with 100 openings done after hours.

Jody Crump, Precinct 4 commissioner, asked if the state maintained the bridge. Slacum answered no that it was a county operation.

Commissioners approved promoting a part-time employee to full-time to fill a Clerk II position in the Records Management Department and waiving the six-week waiting period. The position became vacant on October 2. Also approved was hiring a part-time position in the department.

Regina Cameron, Records Management Director, the Clerk II is very much in need and the department was “tremendously backed-up.”

Cameron also revealed there’s an occasional water leak in her building when it rains. John Banken, Precinct 3 commissioner, said that could create mildew in the records and she needed to contact maintenance about the problem.

David Dubose, Precinct 1 commissioner, said a full-time position and and part-time position are already budgeted and the item should be approved.

The vote was 4 to 1 with Crump voting no.

Denisha Lowe, assistant department head of the Collections Department was moved to Department Head.

County Judge Brint Carlton said the Collections Department is expanding and another position was being added.

There is a $10,000 difference in pay between the assistant department head and the department head.

The exit inventory for outgoing Human Resource Director Minnie Hightower was completed on October 12. Her last day is on October 15.

Slacum requested funds out of contingency capital outlay to purchase a chip spreader which was approved.

Two quotes were received with the cheaper model costing $152,000 and the costlier model $173,000. Slacum was told by contractors he should go with the pricier machine, the Etnyre, because it’s more reliable.

Banken asked if it would be a 10 to 15 years investment for the machine on the county’s part. He was answered yes. He then asked Assistant County Attorney Douglas Manning if the county could go with the pricier machine or do they have to go with the cheaper one.

Manning said they could go with the lowest and the best bid.

Road and Bridge currently has a chip spreader that’s 13 years old and one that is 30 years old.

Crump asked Slacum if the 13 year old machine would make it another year. He answered no because it has already experienced several break-downs and needs special parts. Crump added the department could wait ordering it until February.

Plans are to hang on to this machine, refurbish it, and make it a back-up to the new Etnyre. The 30-year old machine will be scrapped.

Lastly, Attorney Alan Sanders requested the court issue a resolution to vacate, abandon, cancel and nullify the dormant subdivision called Howth Wilder Industrial Tracts. As of the date of this resolution, no lots, tracts or parcels have ever been sold or conveyed out of this subdivision after its official creation on June 26, 1971.

Sanders said the subdivision is also known as Humble Island, or Humble Peninsula, under the Rainbow Bridge. The development plans did not happen and he was asking the subdivision be revoked and put off the books.

Manning said when it comes to real estate, “Alan is known as the lawyer’s lawyer.”