orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

August 14, 2013

Commissioners to review rules and regulations for Convention Center

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — The Orange County Convention and Expo Center is not opened yet and residents are already inquiring utilizing the facility for events.

Patricia Monceaux requested the court to consider waiving the usage fee for an event Thursday, Sept. 26 for a presentation by KrisAnne Hall. Hall travels the country and teaches the Constitution and the history of the founding documents.

Commissioner Pct. 3 John Banken questioned if the event was a political meeting.

“No” Moneceaux said. “It is her compassionate love for this country.”

The event is expected to draw a crowd of 250-300.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the trouble is how to pick and choose who to waive the fees.

“This is not a community center,” Thibodeaux said. “There are expenses such as lights and air conditioning we are looking to recover. We are not trying to make money from it. We allow it to be utilized when it is not in use for an emergency situation.”

Thibodeaux said the court would end up needing to review every event.

“This is a political nightmare,” Thibodeaux said. “No one wants to say no. We need rules and regulations for this. Currently there are no rules to set the criteria to waive the fees.”

No action was taken on the item as the item died due to lack of a motion.

The judge said another group had sent out flyers but yet had a lease agreement to use the center.

An abbreviated version of an application form, contract and leasing rules and regulations was presented to the court.

“Someone needs to use it,” Assistant County Attorney Douglas E. Manning said. “This is not meant to be a final version, just an interim.”

The court also approved the purchase of audio visual equipment and related technology for County Court at Law courtroom, previously the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace courtroom, for the amount of $4,570.

County Court at Law Judge Mandy White-Rogers said that currently attorneys are having to use their laptops and hold them so each juror could see the evidence or videos.

“I have four jury trials coming up and I feel it is necessary so I as the judge can see the evidence in the courtroom as the jury sees it,” Mandy said. “I have looked into this since February.”

Rogers also said she tried looking into other funding for the equipment before making the request before the commissioners.

Banken asked if it could wait a month until after the new budget was adopted.

“I have trials starting before the adoption of the budget,” Rogers said. “There are other items I need, but I am willing to wait for next year’s budget for those.”

One item Rogers mentioned is a printer for when plea agreements are made.

Commissioner Pct. 4 Jody Crump asked if other courtrooms had the equipment.

“Every courtroom in Orange County but mine,” Rogers said. “I did not want to throw that out there.”

Next week a line item transfer will be placed on the agenda for approval before Rogers can proceed with the purchase and installation of the new equipment.