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299 Loop on Tuesday agendas

By Dawn Burleigh

dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com

 

Vidor City Council passed a resolution opposing the Orange County Commissioners Court financing, either in part or full, any Texas Department of Transportation roadway in September.

The same resolution is appearing on agendas for other entities in the county, including the Orange County Commissioners Court.

The court, scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday, issued an addendum number two for the discussion and possible action regarding the proposed Farm to Market Loop 299 Project.

“Unfortunately during the past several years, the county residents who live inside an incorporated city limits, such as Vidor, have seen less and less of a return for their county tax dollars,” Vidor Mayor Robert Viator, Jr. said in a press release. “Fifty-three percent of Orange County residents live inside a city. These Orange County residents should receive the same amount of County services as do the residents who live in the unincorporated areas of the county. Those of us who live in the cities don’t receive a reduced tax rate from the County, so we should not receive reduced services. If the County decides to finance, in any amount, a TxDOT road, it is going to increase the strain on an already strained budget.”

Viator explained that the resolution sums up the concerns of the City of Vidor, and emphasized that the State, not Orange County, should pay for TxDOT roadways. He stated he has reached out to various officials of the neighboring cities of the county, and he is hopeful that the other cities will approve similar resolutions.

Bridge City City Council, meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, also has an agenda item reading: “Consideration and possible action to approve Resolution No. 2016-16(R) opposing Orange County, Texas financing a Texas Department of Transportation Roadway at the present time.

Orange City Council will address the issue at a 9 a.m. Tuesday meeting.

The agenda item reads “Consider a resolution of the City Council of the City of Orange, Texas, opposing Orange County, Texas financing, either in part or full, a Texas Department of Transportation roadway at the present time.”

In the resolution, available in the agenda at http://www.orangetexas.net/ it reads, in part, “the City strongly believes that the County’s funds should be used to fund Orange County programs;” and “many of the safety and traffic congestion concerns previously identified by TXDOT have been addressed by TXDOT, including the widening of IH-10 in the County and City, the widening of North FM 105 in the County and City, and the pending project of widening the Purple Heart Memorial Bridge over the Neches River connecting Orange County and Jefferson County.”

In County Judge Stephen ‘Brint’ Carlton’s State of the County editorial in January 2016, he wrote, “The proposed Loop 299 in the Vidor area to improve transportation and open new areas for economic development.”

In September, John Crew and Scott Young gave a presentation on the proposed project to Commissioners Court.