Orange City Council to help new business, makes progress on more projects

Published 7:35 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

By Krista Chandler

The Orange Leader

A new powersports and offroad service company will be moving into Orange’s Interstate 10 corridor after the Orange Economic Development Corporation and City Council unanimously approved a motion of intent to agree to help the company with infrastructure expenditures.

Performance ATV Powersports and Offroad, set to inhabit 9590 Interstate 10 in Orange, will receive a property tax abatement for three years as well as a voluntary annexation by the City of Orange “for the purpose of economic development,” according to the motion.

PATV owner Brent Ritchey said Orange would be the best place for the ATV repair and service organization, and estimates the company would bring in sales well over their $4 million per year target.

The company specializes in service, parts and repairs on ATV’s, or all terrain vehicles.

Ritchey added PATV would start sales of actual ATV’s once they moved into Orange, including brand names like Polaris, Can-Am and Sea-Doo.

The expenditure of city funds is not to exceed $192,000 for the project.

EDC member Gail Barnett added that adding an attractive appearance on city outskirts along the Interstate 10 corridor will hopefully inspire other businesses to take up shop in the area, and Mayor Larry Spears Jr. thanked the company for choosing Orange.

The EDC and City Council also unanimously agreed at Tuesday morning’s meeting to add an additional $15,400 to a contract agreed for engineering services required for the relocation of a 27-inch sanitary sewer line on 15th Street.

Though originally approved in 2013, the Interstate 10 improvement project moved forward at the same time, creating a delay and eventually pushing 15th Street farther to the east.

The EDC approved a budget for the incentive project that was well-over the amount required, and with a five-year difference in market rates and additional activity, the additional $15,400 for the project puts the budget at the project at no more than $83,120.

Relocating the sanitary sewer line, according to Director of Economic Development Jay Trahan, is necessary to position future projects for development.

In other news, the council extended waiving building permit fees for an additional 90 days for repairing homes and businesses in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and discussed the status of reimbursement from FEMA to the city for various expenditures before, during and after the storm.

Councilmember Bill Mello said waiving the fees for an additional 90 days is needed, as he still sees residents of Orange making progress on rebuilding and repairing their homes as contractors and supplies have been short.

Council also unanimously approved the purchase of a 1984 AM General 5-ton 6-by-6 truck at a cost of $18,000 for the Orange Fire Department.

Ideally, the truck would be used in the event of another Hurricane Harvey-like storm or Sabine River flood to perform rescue operations of city residents.

The mayor proclaimed the Month of June as Men’s Health Month in the city, where members of the local group Gift of Life encouraged men in the community to play a more active role in their health.

The group will be holding prostate cancer screenings, along with additional health services, at West Orange Stark High School from 12 to 4 p.m. on June 30.

Former Orange Mayor Essie Bellfield attended Tuesday’s City Council meeting, where she spoke during public comments urging the council to “get out, ride around and take a look at this city.”

She asked the council to get out to the people and become more involved in the city, and to listen to the residents’ for guidance in making important decisions.

Bellfield said when she was mayor, one way the council engaged with the city was holding meetings across town to ensure residents could be active and involved in decision making.

“Look into the community and go out and meet the people,” Bellfield said. “We have things going on here you don’t even know about, and y’all need to get involved.”