Burton seeks re-election

Published 6:22 am Wednesday, November 15, 2017

By Barry Burton

This week I registered to run for reelection as your County Commissioner for Pct. 2 in the 2018 Republican primary. I have enjoyed being your Commissioner more than any other job I have had in the past. It is both a challenging and rewarding job that allows me to help people and make a contribution to the betterment of our county.

Of the many boards and committees I have served on in the last three years my position on the board for Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission is potentially the most important. I will go into 2018 as the 1st Vice President and upon reelection I will serve as President in 2019. It is important for Orange County to keep a high level of representation on the STRPC because this agency will administer the millions of dollars coming into Southeast Texas for the long term recovery from Harvey. I am committed to making sure Orange County gets the funding we need to rebuild.

Accountability is the major factor when judging anyone’s job performance, especially an elected official. Has someone fulfilled the promises they have made? There were five major issues I talked about during my last campaign:

  • Orange County deserves a full time Commissioner: DELIVERED. This is my one and only job and I work at it full time every day, every week.
  • Tight Fisted Conservative Approach to County Government: DELIVERED. We have made some hard decisions in the past three years. At the root of these decisions was balancing our responsibility as an employer and what is in the best interest of the tax payer. Those decisions have increased our rainy day fund from approximately $330,000 to $12 million which is the minimum recommendation of Texas Association of Counties. This happened just as Harvey made his appearance and the county desperately needs those funds to deal with the county wide devastation. This was all accomplished with a reduction in the county property tax rate.

We have also explored grants as ways to accomplish the work that needs to be done in the county. The courthouse renovation is one example. Using grant money to repair the courthouse may take longer but it relieves a burden on the tax payer.

  • Strong Support for Economic Growth: DELIVERED. We have restructured our Orange County Economic Development Corporation to be more inclusive and have hired a new Executive Director. I have served as Vice President of the EDC and am now serving as President as well serving as an Executive Advisor on the Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation. Our Orange County EDC recently awarded $200,000 in grants for flood recovery to our local business affected by Harvey. We need to work to retain our local business as well as attracting new companies.
  • Advocate for Good Government: DELIVERED. This court has changed the way our county government operates. No longer do we run our equipment to failure and then search for funds to replace expensive items. We implemented a county wide program that not only increased our energy efficiency and saved money but also replaced aging generators, HVAC systems and fixtures. An ongoing maintenance program will keep this equipment in good working order and we can now plan our budget expenditures instead of reacting to unforeseen failures.
  • Strong Advocate For All Citizens: DELIVERED. This court has been the most transparent in recent history. This goes beyond the Open Meetings Act which requires notice of meetings, minutes and audio of each court session to be placed on our website. We have held Commissioners Court in Vidor and Bridge City to be more accessible to the citizenry as well as evening Commissioners Court. We have held workshops and town hall meetings on a variety of subjects at different times and locations. I personally deal with issues county wide, not just in Pct. 2. It is my belief that I am elected by Pct. 2 to serve all the citizens of Orange County. In an effort to be available I keep my office phone, 409-745-2223, is forwarded to my cell phone and I am available 24/7/365.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve. With your support and vote I look forward to another four years where I can continue to work towards making Orange County a better place to work, live and play.