By Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

While still busy trying to help its citizens and seek federal reimbursement after Tropical Storm Harvey, Orange County is also urging folks to prepare for the 2018 hurricane season, which began June 1.

At Tuesday’s Commissioners’ Court meeting, County Judge Dean Crooks talked about the need to prepare a “go” bag for carrying important papers in an air-tight bag and other essentials needed for a quick storm getaway.

Commissioner Jody Crump recounted how he stored his keepsakes high in his house, but then lost them in Harvey’s flooding because he didn’t seal them in plastic.

Michelle Tubbleville, special projects coordinator, offered news on Harvey relief still available and news of a July 14 community resource fair in order to prepare for the next storm.

Harvey victims still requiring help can dial 211, Tubbleville said, and press 1 to be assigned a case manager that can help navigate the process.

She said four different organizations were working under one umbrella to make sure everyone will be called back within seven days.

Tubbleville also announced that Orange County Disaster Rebuild received a $25,000 grant from Motiva and the group will partner with Gift of Life Saturday at the Men’s Health Fair at West Orange-Stark High School.

She said the Southeast Texas Food Bank would have disaster relief food boxes available and there would be 25 case managers on site to help storm victims.

Tubbleville said the faith-based Nehemiah’s Vision group that is bringing 1,100 volunteers to help with storm cleanup this summer, has 175 now working in Orange.

And she announced that Orange County Disaster Rebuild will host a free community resource fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14 at the Orange County Convention & Expo Center.

“There are a lot of people who don’t know what resources are available,” Tubbleville said.

She added that disaster case management registration would also be available there.

Commissioner Barry Burton, set to leave office at the end of the year, announced that he had resigned as vice president of the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission and that Commissioner John Gothia is taking his place.

Gothia will also become president for 2019, an honor scheduled for Burton before he lost his re-election bid in March’s GOP primary.

In other action, the county paid $667,000 in bills and welcomed a report from Tax Assessor-Collector Karen Fisher that the county had collected 96 percent of its 2017 taxes.

Fisher said her office collected a total of $2.6 million in May, with $350,000 of that going to Orange County and the rest to other taxing bodies in the county.

Commissioners gave a unanimous nod to adding $10,100 to the Orange County Airport budget to pay for a part-time worker as the county takes over management of its airport from Sabine Aviation.

The county also approved $1,100 to pay for mowing at the airport.

The county added $3,000 to the budget of the Emergency Management office to cover Harvey-related expenses, reported Joel Ardoin, Emergency Management Coordinator.

It also appointed Connie Powell as a member of the Orange County Child Protective Services Board.