Commissioners move on rebuilding storm-damaged buildings

Published 1:23 pm Saturday, November 2, 2019

By Michael Cole

The Orange Leader


Imelda and the state of storm-damaged buildings took center stage at the Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting.

Talking about debris removal, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin informed the court, “Currently road and bridge has picked up 1,752 cubic yards, TxDOT has picked up, and this is for the county unincorporated areas, 9,055 for a total of 10,807 cubic yards so far.”

 “The City of Vidor,” he added, “has picked up 16,435 cubic yards. Basically, because it is all in one spot and not spread all over the county. So, there have been 27, 243 cubic yards that have been collected so far.”

He also added he felt the 250,000 cubic yard estimate of debris was higher than it will end up.

The court extended the emergency declaration from Imelda to November 26, 2019. 

Ardoin told the court, “As long as we are continuing the debris mission we should continue the declaration.”

The court approved a private property right of entry agreement for residents who were not able to place their debris in the right of way for various reasons to fill out a form allowing the county to enter the property to collect debris. 

Homeowners needing the form can contact the Orange County Office of Emergency Management to obtain it.

The court looked at the state of several buildings that were damaged by Harvey and Imelda but were currently waiting for approval on repairs, reimbursement from FEMA or insurance or other considerations.

“We’re getting to a point where we need to start moving on some of these buildings, things that we are not going to wait for FEMA, or we are going to wait on FEMA,” Orange County Judge John Gothia said.

Kurt Guidry, maintenance manager for the county pointed out that the county had port-a-potties out at Claiborne Park for pavilions still sitting unusable from the storms. He added it was costing the county $16,000 a year. He recommended a portable restroom facility to reduce costs.

On the Precinct Two office, the court looked at two options. One was a re-elevation of the building that would take a year to complete, the other was renovating the existing structure requiring considerably less time.

“Weather permitting,” Guidry stated, “it shouldn’t take long. If the contractor brought in a crew of four, they could knock it out in about three weeks.”

The court also took action on the Sheriff’s Office in Vidor, and various storage and other buildings.

The old WIC building in Vidor will now be a permanent voting center for early voting and election day.

Sabrina Gray with the parks department gained approval to seek out grants to spruce up and improve the parks in Orange County. 

“We’re looking to buy some new playground equipment for our two parks at Claiborne West Park,” Gray said.  “I’d like to see some handicapped swings. More swing sets, some individual play place equipment. There is not merry-go-round out there anymore, I’d like to see that.”

Long-time Orange Attorney Rex Peveto took the time during the public comments section to announce he was seeking the position of 163rd District Court Judge. The position is currently held by Dennis Powell who is not seeking re-election.