Dave Rogers

For The Record

With more than 75 applicants checking in by noon Tuesday, the state’s Housing Assistance Program has been a big hit, Joel Ardoin told Orange County Commissioners Tuesday.

In fact, he said he could have used five workers instead of the two the state sent to process applications on the first day of a three-day filing window.

More than $205 million in Hurricane Harvey funds has been routed to Hardin, Jefferson and Orange counties from a $1.1 billion in Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) passed on by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Texas General Land Office.

That money is being distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis to residents who owned their home, it was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, and it was their primary residence, among other eligibility factors.

The County Convention and Expo Center, 11475 FM 1442, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 and Thursday, Dec. 6.

“If you have your paperwork, you can do it from home on your computer,” County Judge Dean Crooks said.

Homeowners can submit an application online at http://recovery.texas.gov/hap .

“A lot of people are doing all they can online, then going to the Expo Center when they have a question,” Crooks said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners approved an interlocal agreement between Orange County and Orange County Community Supervision and Corrections Department that will allow probationers to fulfill their community service requirements by working for the county.

“There’s been a lot of talk about cleaning up in Orange County, but it’s just labor intensive,” Crooks said.

“While we have the labor, why not use it?”

No action was taken on a proposal to modify the county’s Oversize/Overweight Permit & Bond Procedure after it was discovered that state law will not allow a county to require permits and bonds if the truck owners were already paying the state permit and bond fees.

Originally, County Engineer Clark Slacum had asked the county to raise its $20,000 per mile bond requirements, saying that repairing roads torn up by oversize trailers and trucks could cost as much as $160,000 per mile.

Commissioners approved the County Auditor to pay $263,000 in bills.

Because of a conflict with court schedules and holidays Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, commissioners agreed to cancel the Dec. 25 meeting and hold the other on Jan. 2 to allow Treasurer Christy Khoury to process payroll on her regular schedule.

In other news, Brittany Eck, director of communications with the Texas General Land office, checked in with the Record Newspapers late last week after a Nov. 28 story on requests by Vidor City Council and Orange County Commissioners to have GLO drop its requirement to choose between “buyouts” and “acquisition” programs.

“If you want to do buyouts and acquisitions, all you have to do is apply for a waiver and explain why you want to do both,” she said.

That came as news to commissioners, who promised to follow up.