County, Vidor joining for Pride and Progress

Published 6:42 am Saturday, June 25, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh


Orange County Commissioners Court agreed to and provided guidance for an interlocal agreement between the county and the City of Vidor concerning the city’s Pride and Progress Program.

Vidor City Council passed ordinances in January 2016 for the purpose of designating areas by zone for residential tax abatements. A total of five zones were selected.

Tax abatements for new residential construction are for a seven-year period, with the builder having two years of 100 percent abatement of city taxes to build and sell. A homeowner would received

Year 1 – 100 percent

Year 2 – 100 percent

Year 3 – 90 percent

Year 4 – 75 percent

Year 5 – 60 percent

Year 6 – 45 percent

Year 7 – 20 percent

The program also waives building permits for new construction and provide dumpsters during construction, a savings of approximately $1,800.

Vidor City Manager Mike Kunst said proposed maps would be available on the City of Vidor website next week.

“They still have to apply for the abatement,” Kunst said. “The council will have to approve it.”

“We hope to see it on future agendas several times,” Vidor Mayor Robert Viator, Jr. said during the Tuesday Orange County Commissioners Court meeting.

The program designed to rebuild pride within the city while repairing blighted areas and encouraging growth in underdeveloped areas has already shown a positive impact on the city.

“Since February, we have had six requests for permits,” Viator said. “Our yearly average has been three.”

The court agreed to move forward with an agreement authorizing Vidor to allow tax abatements for the county.

“I would like to see this not just in Vidor, but in other areas,” Commissioner Precinct 1 David Dubose said. “It brings rooftops to the area. We concentrate on industry but if it brings others to the areas, I am on board as well.”

The program will be reevaluated every two years to determine if it is a benefit for the city.

“I see this as a positive thing for the city,” Commissioner Precinct 4 Jody Crump said.

The court opted to make the agreement as seamless as possible for residents by overlaying on the initial agreement outlined by the city.

Commissioner Precinct 3 John Banken said he was concerned the city did not currently a member of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

“Not this year,” Mike Kunst said.

All the local government entities, including the court, opted to not support the EDC for the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

“It is hard to commit to the abatements when Vidor does not support the EDC,” Banken said. “We all have to work together. It takes money to run the EDC and it can’t work without money. I encourage all entities to work together.”