Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

You’ve got questions. They’ll have answers at Thursday night’s Tri-County Disaster Rebuild SETX Pep Rally at 6:30 p.m. at the Orange County Expo Center.

“This is to encourage citizens or businesses or churches that are interested in getting involved in long-term recovery,” Michelle Tubbleville, Orange County’s Special Projects Coordinator told Orange County Commissioners’ Court Tuesday afternoon.

“This is to come and learn about it. We’ve done a couple of these already, but people still say ‘I didn’t hear about it.’ So we’re doing another.”

The poster asks for “Anyone with a desire to help survivors impacted by Harvey” to attend Thursday.

Family Endeavors, which will provide case management for people still in need to repair their homes or lives after Harvey, will explain how case management works, Tubbleville said.

“We’re encouraging a lot of people to come and get involved, so we can make Orange County stronger,” she said.

Another area of concern after Harvey is drainage. Gov. Greg Abbott had met with county officials to discuss drainage issues prior to Saturday night’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner put on by county Republicans.

The governor revealed during the dinner that the state had $3.2 billion earmarked for flooding mitigation and the money was available now.

Leon George, interim emergency management coordinator for the county, said FEMA officials will be in Orange March 26-28 to begin site inspections for drainage.

Commissioner John Gothia said he had invited the area’s city managers to a Wednesday meeting to consider collaborating on fixing Orange County’s drainage problems.

“We all want to move forward on this, and doing it together is the approach we want to take,” he said.

Denise Gremillion, the new assistant county attorney assigned to commissioners’ court, put forth a resolution to have Orange County join a nationwide lawsuit against makers and providers of opioids.

Commissioners voted 4-0 in favor, with vacationing County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton absent for the second straight week.

The county would have no financial cost, Gremillion said.

“This is an attempt to recover some of the costs the county has had to incur regarding addiction and the negative effects it has had on our citizens.”

Commissioners opened the meeting by agreeing to pay $751,000 in bills and later authorized $274,000 to buy “Seal Coat Aggregate” for road work.

They put off for at least a week a request by County Engineer Clark Slacum to spend $11,400 for electrical work on the Cow Bayou swing bridge on East Roundbunch Road and a $129,000 purchase of four new Chevy Tahoes to replace four Sheriff’s Office vehicles.

Sheriff Keith Merritt said in the last six months, one vehicle was totaled because of a flood and three others by automobile accidents.

The commissioners delayed the purchases for at least a week to determine from which fund to make the payments.

George reported that three debris trucks were active in the county this week, picking up in Pinehurst and West Orange. Residents still needing storm debris pickup should call the county hotline at 409-745-9809, he said.