OC OKs replacement of shot-down drone
Last updated 10/27/2020 at 10:18pm
Orange County Commissioners Court rubber-stamped Tuesday the purchase of a $6,300 drone to replace one that was blasted out of the sky and run over by an armored vehicle during an August shootout in Newton County.
It was part of a $100,000 package of items authorized for the Sheriff’s Office to be paid for by the Sheriff’s Office out of drug and cash forfeiture funds.
“Thank you. Ya’ll are using forfeiture funds and that is really help to us on our budgetary items, especially right now,” County Judge John Gothia told Chief Deputy Keith Reneau.
Reneau has represented Sheriff Lane Mooney at most Commissioners Court meetings since Mooney was sworn in at the end of June.
“We probably wouldn’t have been able to purchase this,” Gothia said.
The list of buys approved from the money granted the department by state and federal law enforcement agencies to reward the Sheriff’s Office for its help in drug manufacturing and trafficking cases was varied.
It included approximately $45,000 for Chevrolet Tahoe to replace one totaled in an accident, a $19,000 front load tractor and brush hog to mow the gun range and maintain the county’s livestock pens, a $26,000 computer server to replace one damaged in a ransomware attack, and a $4,000 replacement zero-turn lawnmower.
Tuesday afternoon’s meeting opened with the presentation of a $125,000 check to the county from the Sabine River Authority, with David Montagne, general manager, and board member Kevin Williams representing SRA.
The check was for Hurricane Laura disaster recovery assistance and one of a number SRA is presenting to counties, municipalities and other entities located in the Sabine River Basin that were impacted by the Aug. 27 storm.
Recipients will include the cities of Orange, Bridge City and West Orange.
Montagne also recognized U.S. Senator Brian Babin and State Representative Dade Phelan for their success in helping SRA fund recent projects and help make the disaster recovery money available.
The county paid bills of $57,636 for Oct. 20 and just over $4 million for Oct. 27. Of that last total, $3.4 million went to pay AshBritt, the contractor in charge of picking up and disposing of debris from Hurricane Laura.
Joel Ardoin, county emergency management coordinator, said the county’s total damage count from Laura was at $9.6 million and rising, most for debris removal and emergency protection.
He reminded that Wednesday, Oct. 28 is the final day to push Laura debris out to be picked up but not the final day it will be picked up.
He said FEMA monitors will mark on their maps debris to be picked up. Ardoin also stressed that the contracted haulers would only pick up debris that was sorted.
“Do not mix green (vegetative) debris with others,” he said.
The county “is cautiously optimistic” of getting reimbursed by federal and state agencies, Ardoin said, but no relief funds had been designated as of Tuesday.
Accordingly, the county extended its Hurricane Laura disaster deadline through Dec. 22, to ensure that any further damages discovered might be covered for reimbursement, too.
The county did not extend its disaster declaration for Hurricane Delta because damage was too light for government reimbursement. It did however, continue to waive building permit fees for property being repaired after Laura damage.
It announced the county landfill would resume its normal days and hours of operation beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3, and also resume charging. The landfill will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.