County faces damaged ductwork

Published 7:58 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Way Service, Ltd. Stopped working at the Orange county Administration Building in late February after discovering an issue with the duct work while contractors were working on improvements.

During a 2015 survey, a walk thru was conducted on the building.

“There was a lot more damage to the duct work than anyone expected,” a representative from the company said during the Tuesday afternoon meeting. “The damage was on the top side of the ductwork where it had blown out.”

Ductwork installed in the building is constructed from fiberboard instead of metal. The difference in material would not have been an issue if upgrades to the ventilation system had not been made since the building of the structure.

“Dampeners were installed to help adjust the comfort level throughout the building, is my guess,” the representative said.

Way Service, Ltd. offered three solutions to the problem:

  1. Do nothing at this time
  2. Repair all the compromised ductwork, install different dampeners and controls to lower the possibility of a blow out, or
  3. Remove all the fiberboard duct work and install metal ductwork.

Solution Two would not change the contract price while solution three came with a substantial increase of $125k.

The court approved option two.

Commissioner John Trahan asked how many feet of duct work was affected.

The duct work for four of the five systems were damaged at 85-100 feet of ductwork per system.

Maintenance Director Kurt Guidry said he was made aware of the issue when Way Service, Ltd. discovered the damage to the duct work.

“It will vent into the ceiling,” Guidry said about the split and blown out ductwork.

The court also met for a Public Workshop regarding retiree health insurance benefits for future county employees.

The court had asked time to conduct further research concerning the matter prior to meeting for the workshop.

Representatives from Texas Association of Counties (TAC) were present during the meeting.

Of the 213 counties which utilize TAC for healthcare, only 37 offer some kind of health benefits for retired employees.

Ten pay 100 percent for retirees 65 and older, 10 pay a set amount of $75- $521 and 17 offer health benefits but pay zero of the costs associated with it.

“I recently attend school in San Marcus,” Commissioner Jody Crump said. “Of the other counties I spoke with, no one else pays 100 percent for retirees.”

County Judge Brint Carlton said he spoke with adjoining counties, municipalities within Orange County as well as major cities in Jefferson County about retiree health insurance benefits.

“We are unique in that we are the one to offer up to 100 percent of any type of health benefit for retirees,” Carlton said.

The court did not vote on the matter and instead moved it to next week’s agenda due to Commissioner John Gothia was not present.

“For a major decision, the entire court should be present,” Carlton said. “Gothia cannot be here today due to a death in the family.”