orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

January 8, 2014

Commissioners Court covers bases for possible grant

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Orange County Commissioners Court is considering the creation of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CERTZ) for the SB 1747 Grant. The court was presented with an area for consideration for the zone due to a pipeline and two pipeline easements within the area.

Thirteen roads were included in the proposal as possible candidates for the repair through the grant.

Trey Gilbert, surveyor with Orange County Road and Bridge, presented the information to the court during a Monday afternoon meeting. County Engineer Clark Slacum was not present due to attending continuing education class out of town.

“There is no commitment to the grant,” Commissioner Pct. 4 Jody Crump said. “We want to cover all our bases. We don’t even know the final numbers for the funds.”

The public hearing is one step towards meeting the requirements for the grant funds.

The $226 million is dedicated to the grant through Texas Transportation and is equally divided between all the counties in the state. As counties opt to not participate or otherwise disqualified, the funds can increase for the qualifying counties. Currently, Orange County qualifies for $400,000.

The funds from taxes within the CERTZ would be used for  road work on the designated streets listed in the grant application.

The court opted to take no action on approving the potential boundaries or the creation of the CERTZ during the special court session following the public hearing.

Another requirement if the CERTZ is approved is for the court to create a committee. The committee is to be a minimum of three and a maximum of five persons. a citizen of the county, a commissioner or the county judge and at least one person in the gas and oil related industry.

“”It could be a gas station owner,” Crump said. “The requirements are very broad in that area.”

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the deadline for creating the order is Wednesday, February 12.

Deadline for the applications for the grant is February 14, 2014.