County lifts evacuation order, sets tax rate hearings
Dave Rogers / For The Record
Orange County lifted its evacuation order Sunday afternoon as it prepares to reopen some of its offices downtown nearly two weeks after Hurricane Harvey.
The county-wide curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. remains in effect.
The county announced it will hold two tax rate hearings at the County Administration Building, 123 S. 6th St., in the Commissioners’ Courtroom.
The first will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12; the second at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15.
The proposed tax rate is the same as last year’s rate, 54.4 cents per $100 property value. Commissioners can’t raise but can lower that rate when they vote on it in next week’s commissioners’ court meeting.
Tuesday’s tax rate hearing will precede a 2 p.m. commissioners’ court meeting also held back downtown.
What limited non-emergency county government activities that have gone on since Hurricane Harvey happened at the County Expo Center, staging center for first responders.
In a commissioners’ court meeting held at the Expo Center last Tuesday night, commissioners voted 4-1 to approve an average $11,000 raise for 18 county elected officials.
On this week’s agenda for the commissioners will be to OK a payment of $170,000 to Old Orange Café for feeding first responders from Tuesday, Sept. 5 through Monday, Sept. 11.
That averages out to about $8 per meal to feed 1,000 servings of breakfast, lunch and dinner. County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton said that included county employees working during the emergency plus visiting military, medical, law enforcement and search and rescue personnel.
The $170,000, the judge said, should be completely reimbursed by FEMA.
A group of volunteers called Cajun Gravy provided donated meal services the first week after the storm.
The Orange County Courthouse suffered water damage from the flooding of the nearby Sabine River, though the newer Administration Building, across a parking lot did not.
While some offices in the courthouse – those of the County Attorney — will move into still undetermined temporary locations, the courts and other offices in the original building will be closed until further notice.
Departments reopening this week:
- Orange County Transportation begins limited services Monday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for residents with necessary needs such as going to medical appointments or the grocery store.
- All offices not impacted by the storm will begin opening Tuesday, Sept. 12.
All offices in the Administration Building located at 123 S. 6th St. will open. These offices include the Tax Office, County Judge’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, Auditor’s Office, Social Services and Human Resources.
The County Clerk’s Office and the District Clerk’s office will be the only offices in the Courthouse to resume normal hours on Tuesday.
Other county offices that will be resuming business on Tuesday are Purchasing Department, Elections, Veterans’ Office, Justice of the Peace Pct. 3, Juvenile Probation office in Orange, Environmental Health/Code Compliance, and the UTMB clinic.
The Vidor Tax Office will be opening Tuesday also.
Adult Probation in Orange will open their offices Wednesday, Sept. 13.