orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

March 12, 2013

Bass Week is here

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — County Judge Carl Thibodeaux encourages residents of Orange County to participate in the events during the upcoming week.

“The boats and vehicles are the nicest in the world,” Thibodeaux said during the 2 p.m. Monday Commissioners Court meeting. “They are the most rigged out boats one could see. They have as much electronics as something from NASA.”

The court issued a proclamation declaring the week of March 11-17, 2013 as Bass Week in honor of the Bassmaster Elite Tournament.

Several events are planned during the course of the week including a catch and release tank for kids.

The court also proclaimed the month of April as Fair Housing Month in Orange County.

Commissioner Pct. 4 Jody Crump was appointed as a representative for the court to enter into discussions with adjoining counties for the possible development of a Regional Mobility Authority (RMA).

Community Development Education Foundation Chairman/CEO Duane Gordy told the court there could be some expense to the county while establishing the entity.

“This will cost the county some money,” Thibodeaux said. “I don’t want anyone thinking that this will be free.”

Gordy said the costs could be between $2,000 and $45,000 depending on how it is set up.

“I am not willing to vote and hand over a blank check,” Commissioner pct 3 John Banken said.

The first step towards establishing a RMA is selecting a representative of the court to work with Jefferson and Hardin County.

Gordy said that Jefferson County was aggressively interested in establishing a RMA.

Commissioner Pct 1 David Dubose said he was concerned with working with Jefferson County.

“Sometimes we end up with the short end of the stick,” Dubose said. “Are we guaranteed the 290 Loop?”

Gordy said the RMA is only as good as the board of directors.

Crump said two members from each county would be on the board.

Dubose asked for conformation the county was not financially obligated to anything at this point and Banken asked that the county lawyer look over the petition for the RMA.

The court was asked to adopt a resolution to execute the TxDOT Aviation Grant. The grant is to build an 80’ x 80’ box hanger at the Orange County Airport. The grant requires a 10% match.

Southeast Texas Air Rescue has agreed to accepting the matching funds up to $40,000 so they may establish a maintenance facility there.

The agreement is valid only if the county receives the grant from TxDOT. The $40,000 would be considered rent paid up front.

The company would lease the hanger at $1,000 a month so the first 40 months would be paid in advance.

Orange County would own the hanger. Southeast Texas Air Rescue currently maintains their helicopter in Beaumont in a smaller building which requires the blades of the helicopter to be folded before entering increasing maintenance and decrease safety of the equipment.

Assistant County Attorney Douglas Manning said that having planes and rotary at the airport is a big feather in the cap for Orange County.

Manning also said that extending the runway has increased the use of the airport.

“Frankie is commended for his work,” Thibodeaux said. “Thank you Frankie”.

Franklin Walters, deputy emergency management coordinator, has been essential to the improvements of the airport.