Cecilio Lopez, Adult Protective Services supervisor of the Orange County and Southern Jefferson County region, in front, accepts a proclamation from Orange County Commissioners Court on Tuesday after having May 2016 proclaimed as Elder Abuse Prevention Month. Pictured, in back, from left, are Barry Burton, Commissioner Precinct 2; Brint Carlton, Orange County Judge; and Jody Crump, Commissioner Precinct 4. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

Another round of grants funding will soon be available for residents of Orange County who qualify for improvements to their property’s sewer system.

Joel Ardoin, the Orange County Environmental Health and Code Compliance director, announced during Tuesday’s meeting of the Orange County Commissioners Court that funding from a Texas Community Development Block Grant would soon be available for the county to use to help Orange County residents install aerobic systems or tie-in to existing sewer systems.

“These funds are for those with a failed system,” Ardoin said. “A failed system is one that is not working the way it was designed or is illegal, like one that drains into a ditch.”

The latest round of funding, which the county applied for late last year, is approximately $275,000 and will help install approximately 25-to-28 systems in Orange County. Currently, there are enough remaining funds from the previous grant to allow for the installation of up to four more systems, according to Ardoin.

Ardoin presented information to Orange County Commissioners on Tuesday, who approved changes to guidelines and action on advertising for the application process.

According to Ardoin, the guideline changes were done by the State of Texas after receiving information from the Federal government on changes it had made.

Applications will not be available to the public until mid-June, and, for those who apply, there is a long, but manageable list of requirements to be met in order to qualify.

Some requirements include proof of residency, proof of taxes being current, proof of income, drivers license and many others which will be available on the application.

Ardoin stated if there are more applications received than funding can accommodate, a committee will review applications and determine those who best             meet requirements.

Applications will be made available at the Orange County Health Department on FM 1442, after the application process opens to the public next month.

In other news, Orange County Commissioners approved the appointment of Mike Hale as the interim director of the Orange County Parks Department following a recommendation by Barry Burton, Orange County Commissioner of Precinct 2.

Burton stated the filling of the position with an interim person was needed in order “to take care of work orders and requisitions for supplies, which have been stacking up” since the position became vacant.

Donna Scales, the previous director of the Orange County Parks Department, retired on March 31 after 20 years as director.

Orange County Judge Brint Carlton proclaimed the month of May 2016 to be Elder Abuse Prevention Month on behalf of Adult Protective Services.

According to Cecilio Lopez, the Adult Protective Services supervisor for Orange County and Southern Jefferson County, the agency looks out for adults who are ages 65 and older, and for adults ages 18 and older who are disabled.

In 2016, Lopez stated there were 78,000 reports of adult or elderly abuse in the State of Texas and 44,000 of those reports were validated, including many in Orange County.