Commissioners Court has busy session

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

By Larry Holt

The Orange Leader

Although Judge Stephen Brint Carlton was absent, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jody E. Crump struck the gavel and brought the special session of the Commissioners Court of Orange County into order.

A councilman noted attendance at today’s session was demonstrably more, by half, than regular sessions but could only speculate as to why.

After prior business was attended to, discussion moved to agenda items including among other things, the unanimous appointment of Fallon Foster as the new County Coordinator/Department Head for the Orange County Extension Office filling the vacancy when Christina Ritter resigned.

Commissioner Crump praised Christina’s efforts and wished her well.

In other matters, lively discussion commenced lead by Assistant County Attorney Douglas Manning and Constable Mooney, Precinct 4 regarding accounting practices for the stipend Pine Forest pays to the County.

The stipend is used as an expense reimbursement for vehicle mileage, gasoline receipts, and the like resulting from the Pine Forest contract with the County for extra law enforcement patrols.

After several minutes of discussion the accounting practices were understood and resolved and the court moved to other agenda items involving line item transfer of monies, transfer of county property, and certification of the June 2017 Collection Report for the Tax Office, among others.

The county will continue to charge the $10.00 Road and Bridge fee for 2018; the same fee amount as 2017 and also adopted without change the residential homestead exemptions for 2018.

The Interlocal Contract relating to planning, development, operation and provision of 9-1-1 funds between Orange County and the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission was approved without change and extended for another two-year contract period until August 31, 2019.

The discussion of county employee medical and wellness recommendation seemed to be of particular interest for session attendees as noted by nearly standing room only in the court room, and the number of attendees taking notes.

Connie Cassidy, CPPB, Purchasing Agent discussed with the commissioners how the medical insurance and wellness program request for proposal process was conducted by the select committee, and that two providers were selected for actual insurance quotes.

Connie said the committee reviewed the options and pricing from each provider and recommends the proposal submitted by the current medical provider administered through the Texas Association of Counties (TAC).

The court voted to approve the wellness portion of the proposal to meet a July 24 deadline for that option, and will take up the medical/dental portion of the insurance plan prior to a July 31 deadline.

There being no comments for open discussion by attendees, the commissioners went into a closed door session to receive or solicit legal advice from the assistant county attorney, Douglas Manning and the meeting was subsequently adjourned.