Citizens speak trash

Published 8:19 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Citizens concerned with trash and littering across the city spoke to Orange City Council during citizens comments to request the council to become proactive in the matter.

While the council is not permitted to discuss anything not on the agenda per the Texas Open Meeting Act, Council Member Larry Spears Jr. requested the trash issue be placed on a future agenda so the council could discuss the matter.

“The people are right, we need to jump on this,” Spears said. “If we don’t make Orange look better, who will want to come here?”

Leslie Barras, of Orange, said litter is not a trivial matter.

“Twenty years ago, citizens were concerned about trash and litter,” Barras said. ”Strategies were recommended then, but not implemented. We have the tools there to get it done.”

Barras also added the same recommendations such as ticketing and schedules for heavy pick up items were effective in other cities when implemented.

Sandra Cash, of Orange, said she hoped her third time to come before the council on the matter of trash would be the charm.

“We have written to each member of the council and only heard from one,” Cash said. “It is like talking to the deaf and blind.”

Cash also provided a hand out to the council showing the amount of trash collected during the annual Community Trash off sponsored by Shangri La.

“In 2008, 5,000 pounds of trash was collected,” Cash said. “In 2017, 36,000 pounds of trash was collected. We should not be picking up more trash, there should be less trash.”

Police Chief Lane Martin said Orange Police Department is taking action.

“We are patrolling streets,” Martin said. “We are identifying violators and taking appropriate actions.”

In other actions, the council approved amending Hiring Procedures of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for October 13, 2014- September 30, 2017.

“Currently when we hire licensed peace officers, they come in at the lowest pay scale on the matrix,” City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre said. “There is a pool of potential recruits but they do not want to start over at the lowest pay scale. We do not want to risk the potential of losing good hires.”

The same changes have been offered to the Orange Fire Department, according to Oubre.

Council member Patrick Pullen did request the department run the best background check possible on the potential hires for the police department.

“We do not want to get a bad egg from elsewhere,” Pullen said.

Mayor Jimmy Sims also proclaimed June 2017 as National Men’s Health Month.

Christina Morris, with the Gift of Life Program, accepted the proclamation.

The Gift of Life, in partnership with local healthcare organizations, will provide medically underserved men with free prostate cancer tests and other important screenings, along with educational outreach, to heighten awareness of men’s preventable health problems in Southeast Texas from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Lamar State College Student Center. Screening pre-registration is recommended, and walk-ins will be accepted subject to eligibility. For more information, visit or call the office at 409-833-3663. To register for a screening, please call the 24-hour hotline at 409-860-3369.