orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

February 13, 2013

Orange has new fire truck, new flood plain maps

Mike Louviere
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — As those attending Tuesday’s city council meeting approached the meeting room they were greeted to the Orange Fire Department’s newest apparatus. Parked with all the red lights flashing was Ladder No. 1. Chief David Frenzel and Assistant Chief Jerry Ziller were beaming like proud parents as they showed off the new ladder truck. Due to the astute use of grant money, the city only had to add $130,000 toward the $1.2 million price of the apparatus.

The truck has a 100 foot ladder, a pumping capacity of 2,000 gallons per minute, a 250 gallon fire fighting foam tank, a 300 gallon water tank, and several other features that make it the most modern of its type available. There is even a vertical row of four different colored lights to show the level of water in the tank.

“I got to drive it here from Wisconsin, it driver like a dream, we are very fortunate to be able to get such a truck for our department. It will greatly improve our abilities to fight fires,” said Frenzel.

“I very carefully drove it here from the station, very carefully,” said Ziller, with a large grin.

Jimmy Lewis, the city’s Director of Planning and Community Development stated that there were some major changes coming in the FEMA flood plain map of the city. He then introduced Tom Reynolds, Building Official for the city to give a power point presentation of the changes and how they will affect property owners.

Reynolds gave the website www.txchart.com as the source for property owners to go to in order to find the location of their property in the flood plain. For those with no computer access, the city will arrange for them to obtain the necessary information at the Orange Public Library. They will be able to use library computers to access the website and the city will also arrange for a map to be available at the library.

The flood plain changes will affect property owners need and costs for flood insurance. During the discussion of the insurance subject Councilman Cullen Smith said, “Don’t worry, if you have a mortgage, you will be contacted by the holder of the mortgage about your need for insurance.”

Mayor Jimmy Sims interjected that the flood plain situation is entirely federal and that the city has no control or input in the flood plain changes. The city will only be able to direct property owners to the sources to obtain information. The program is entirely federal through FEMA.

City Finance Director Gail English accepted an award for excellence for the work she and her department have done with the city’s finances.

“I’m pleased to accept this award on behalf of all of my staff. This is the 20th year we have received it and we are very honored,” said English.

Mayor Sims and City Manager Shawn Obure were very complementary about the efforts of DuPont Sabine Works Plant Manager Bobby Laughlin in his working with the city and other Chemical Row plant managers to reach the agreements for the industrial contracts. Seven of the 10 plants have settled contract issues with the city. Oubre will continue to work with the other three.

“By reaching favorable contract settlements with the plants, we have been able to reduce taxes by seven percent. We have 15 year contracts with all but three plants and will continue to work with them. The city is very grateful to Mr. Laughlin for his efforts to take the lead among the managers during the negotiations,” said Sims.