Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

Local non-profits are hosting a first-come, first-served free Imelda Winter Recovery Event at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22 at the Orange County Convention & Expo Center.

Michelle Tubbleville, the county’s special events coordinator, announced the giveaway at Tuesday’s meeting of the Orange County Commissioners’ Court.

The recovery boxes will include turkey, food box, first aid kit, blanket and cleaning supplies.

To be eligible, one must have proof of residency in Orange County.

Orange County Disaster Rebuild, United Way, The Southeast Texas Food Bank, Lions International and The Salvation Army are co-sponsors for the event.

The county extended its Tropical Storm Imelda disaster declaration through Dec. 26, with the hope that portions of ongoing expenses caused by the storm will qualify for reimbursement under future government grants.

Joel Ardoin, county emergency management coordinator, announced the Disaster Recovery Center run by FEMA at the County Expo Center will be closed Thursday, Nov. 28 for Thanksgiving.

The county extended its agreement to house the DRC at the Expo Center through Dec. 22.

Ardoin reported that TxDOT had finished its first round of Tropical Storm Imelda debris cleanup in Orange County.

He said 33,626 cubic yards of debris had been removed from Vidor and 22,426 cubic yards had been cleared in the rest of the county by FEMA.

The Orange County Road & Bridge Department had hauled off 2,712 cubic yards of debris.

“TxDOT plans to come back Dec. 3 to finish,” Ardoin said.

The county commissioners approved the payment of $341,843 in weekly bills while accepting the first monthly report on 2019 taxes paid.

Karen Fisher, tax appraiser-collector, said Orange County citizens had paid a total of $4 million in taxes for property taxes, of which Orange County, the entity, keeps $600,000.

Although 2019 taxes are not overdue until Jan. 1, these collections mean 1.39 percent of all 2019 payments due have been paid, nearly three times the amount received at this time last year, Fisher said.

The county fathers approved $35,000 in expenditures to replace security equipment destroyed by a recent lightning strike, with the funds coming from the Courthouse Security Fund.

Worn out county equipment was transferred from active inventories to surplus. These pieces included one boat lift, two tractors and mowers, two dump trucks, one pickup and one excavator.

The county deleted from inventory a Road & Bridge pickup truck that was flooded during Imelda. The county’s insurer has already paid $41,000 to replace it.