(Orange, Texas)

December 18, 2012

Commissions Court wants changes selection of Emergency Services Districts members

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — The 2 p.m. Monday Orange County Commissioners Court started with a moment of silence for those lost during the Newton, Connecticut shooting on Friday.

The court discussed adopting a resolution allowing a legislative change in the method of selecting board members for the four Emergency Services Districts in Orange County. The court has always appointed the board members and the court wants the members to be elected.

“They need to be elected,” County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said. “The citizens have a right to say who is going to represent them.”

Emergency Services Districts have become a taxing entity.

Senator Robert Nichols, according to Thibodeaux, is willing to sponsor the resolution which is specific to Orange County.

“This was brought up a couple of years ago,” Thibodeaux said. “Concerns about the cost of elections caused it to fail.”

Commissioner Pct. 4 Jody Crump said it was cost his precinct $4,400 if it ran concurrent with other elections.

The resolution was approved.

The resolution is not guaranteed to pass, but this will allow it to be heard by legislation.

The court appointed Jeff Kelley, Gary Biehslich and Nelda Nash for the Orange County Emergency Service District #1 Commissioners to serve a two year beginning January 1, 2013.

Sheriff Keith Merritt asked the court to allow him to proceed with plans to install an Interview CCTV system for the Orange office. The existing system is in need of replacing.

“The current system is antiquated,” Merritt said. “ The video and audio are not always working.”

Originally, the new system was on the budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The funds for the item will come from Drug Forfeiture Funds.

Jody Crump, pct. 4, asked if there are plans to have a system installed in Vidor.

Merritt said that was next.

The Orange County Convention and Expo Center is down to the finishing touches. An extension has been requested due to a change order.

Insulation will be installed in the ceilings throughput the building. The cost to the county is $10,000 with the cost to the state being $13,000.

“I think we would be well served to have it,” Mark Wimberly, maintenance director said.

This was not included in the original design.

The contractor requested a 70 day extension which has the completion date on Feb. 27, 2013.

Other business included the approving of paying the county bills for a total of $421,925.83 and the recording in the minutes of a check from Entergy for the amount of $946. The funds were awarded to Orange County as part of an energy efficient program sponsored through Entergy.