Citizen requests City Council to discuss Nativity Scene

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, February 10, 2016

By Mike Louviere

The Orange Leader

David Meaux, of Little Cypress appeared before the Orange City Council with a request for the council to return the manger scene to city hall. Meaux asked that the council consider making the placement of the manger scene an agenda item and voted on at a future council meeting. Meaux also had letters of support from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, State Senator Robert Nichols, and elected state and federal officials.

“I hope that these letters of support will show you that you have the support you need to reconsider placing the manger scene at city hall…please do not let the voice of one group drown out the voice of thousands who want to see the Manger Scene again at city hall,” Meaux said.

The council approved the use of a third party to negotiate the rate increase requested by Entergy Texas, Inc. This is done to investigate the requested rate increase and negotiate an acceptable increase to both Entergy and the City of Orange.

“This is something that we do annually,” Councilman Bill Mello said.

“I think it is a good thing for the city to do, it is a ‘safety net’ for the city,” Councilman Patrick Pullen said.

Kelvin Knauf, Director of Planning and Community Development opened a public hearing for citizen comments regarding the re-platting of eight lots in Block 4, Belmont addition. The properties would be combined into one plat. There were no citizen comments.

Knauf then presented a resolution to the council to approve the combining of the eight lots into one plat. He explained that this would bring the property into compliance with city ordinances and that the owner would grant utility easements to the city. The resolution was approved.

City Manger Dr. Shawn Oubre reported on the agreement relating to the placement of banners on Entergy utility poles on 16th Street.

“There will be banners placed on 12-15 poles that will promote civic events and other civic messages. The council will have the right to approve the content of these banners. The Stark Foundation will pay for the placement of banners relating to their events and programs. This will be a good way to make our civic events very visible. We would probably change the banners two or three times per year,” Oubre said.

Several council members stated that the banners would be a great benefit to the city in promotion of various events, like the recent Mardi Gras parade. City Attorney John Cash Smith made a statement about the city having the right to decide the content of the banners and to reject any request that may be objectionable.

“There have been Supreme Court decisions about this very issue. We will not let you do the wrong thing, you have every right to decide what is appropriate for the citizens of Orange to see,” Smith said.

Mayor Jimmy Simms adjourned the open meeting so that the council could convene a closed session to discuss the pending or contemplated legislation against the City of Orange regarding the purchase of new property for relocation of City Hall. This was a discussion item and no action was taken, according to Oubre.