(Orange, Texas)


October 9, 2012

Commissioners discuss trust property and grants

ORANGE — Commissioners faced a tough decision concerning trust property during the meeting at 2 p.m. Monday.

The property has three tanks on it which the bidder is aware of when making the bid.

Studies have been conducted which show there is no contamination at this point to the grounds. The tanks must be removed and the bidder is willing to pay $15,000 for the removal.

The concern to the court pertained to if contamination was discovered after the tanks were removed.

“At least we would know if it was contaminated,” Lynda Gunstream, tax-assessor-collector said.

Jody Crump, commissioner pct. 4 asked Emergency Management Coordinator, Jeff Kelley, if he was aware of a possible grant that could help remove any possible contamination.

Kelley said he was not aware of any at this time.

“My issue is that the bidder is out the money and we [the county] get liability [for cleaning up the contamination],” Crump said.

“Right now it is not incurring taxes and just sitting there,” John Dubose, commissioner, pct. 3 said. “The situation is a double-edged sword.”

Gunstream said the reports have been good so far and as long as the county was not responsible it would be worth the chance.

If the ground is not contaminated, the property would be deeded to the bidder and could return to the tax rolls.

Upon discovering contamination, the county would have to refund the bidder $7,500 towards the cost of the tan removal. Other entities are involved with the property and would also have to agree to the conditions.

Environmental Health and Code Compliance Director Joel Ardoin discussed with the court the possibility of applying for the Texas Community Development Block Grant 2013/2014 for a sewer upgrade project for a maximum of $275,000.

The county would need to match 5% of the funds for a total of $13,750.

Originally the expansions project was for the Victory Gardens area but Orangefield is not ready yet.

The  county would only need to match the funds it uses.

The commissioners asked Ardoin to research if his time working on the project would count towards the matching funds.

“This is just the application process,” Ardoin said. “There is no guarantee the county will receive the grant.”

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