Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

Long-promised payments from the state and federal government are finally making their way to Orange County.

Joel Ardoin, the county’s emergency management coordinator, announced at Tuesday’s Commissioners’ Court meeting, that a check for $514,000 had been received from the state as the first government reimbursement to hit the county for expenses caused by last summer’s Tropical Storm Harvey.

Ardoin also said he expects the Texas Department of Emergency Management would send along a FEMA check for $9.2 million “in a couple of weeks” to cover 90 percent of the county’s $10.3 million spent so far for storm debris removal.

Ardoin also announced an informational meeting at 6 p.m. July 16 at the County Convention and Expo Center concerning a buyout and elevation program.

He said the county would be sending letters about the meeting to the owners of 355 county homes deemed “substantially damaged” but he did not limit the meeting to just those.

“Anybody who thinks they may be a candidate for buyout or elevation program, they need to come,” Ardoin said.

Nancy Beward of Wendorf Beward & Partners, the county’s FEMA administrator consultant, said she expected $15 million to be available in a buyout program and $17.5 million in a home elevation program.

Bedard gave a Disaster Recovery Status Update presentation to commissioners that took up about half of the hour-long pre-July 4 meeting.

She reminded county officials Aug. 25 is the deadline to file paperwork for FEMA debris and silt removal reimbursement.

She said a damage inventory of county roads showed 319 roads suffered an estimated damage of $20 million for which reimbursement would be sought.

Michelle Tubbleville, special projects coordinator, announced the Orange County Disaster Rebuild and the Southeast Texas Food Bank had distributed 450 food boxes and case management had served 150 people at the June 30 Men’s Health Fair at West Orange-Stark High School.

She said a second disaster food distribution was set for 10 a.m. Friday, July 6 at Oak Forest Elementary School in Vidor.

Orange County Disaster Rebuild will have on-site case management available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 10 at Vidor City Hall, she said.

Commissioners paid $162,000 in bills Tuesday and approved paying $16,666 for new flooring at the sheriff’s office after the original contractor backed out. Also approved was $5,350 to paint the walls in the county clerk’s office.