Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

County jail overall looks good according to state

The Orange County Jail once again passed a surprise inspection by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, but Jail Captain James Eiselstein said the commission said the county needs to deal with the rust in the complex.

Captain Eiselstein presented Orange County Commissioners Court with the full report and said the recent inspection was made in person. Because of staff cutbacks at the commission, the previous inspection was based on records sent to the commission.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Jimmy Lane Mooney oversee the jail and its operations. Eiselstein said the jail, which has parts built nearly 50 years ago, has the metal in the cells and bars rusting. The sheriff's office will work on getting the rusty spots removed and repainted.

"We've got a good staff and they do a good job," the captain told the court.

Commissioners also heard good news from the AgriLife Extension Service in Orange County. Franny Woods with the 4-H program in the extension service reported the local office was honored at a state convention for having the top growth in the state for the 4-H program.

Woods gave commissioners a quarterly report on the programs and participation in AgriLife programs during the past three months. The programs not only include 4-H, but others like Texas Master Gardeners, which began a new training class in September with 18 enrolled.

The OC AgriLife Extension service has the categories of Family and Community Health, 4-H, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Better Living for Texans.

During the past three months the service has numerous programs for youth and adults like canning, cooking, sewing, gardening, food safety, aging successfully, diabetes training, poultry training, and youth livestock classes.

AgriLife is sponsored by the county with Texas A&M University. Offices are at the Orange County Expo Center on FM 1442 and the phone number is 409-882-7010.

Commissioners Court approved a waiver for construction in a flood plain for a new ship dock on the Orange County side of the Neches River outside of Vidor. The dock will be used by Enterprise Terminalling-LLC at the Enterprise Neches River Terminal. Orange County Emergency Management Director Joel Ardoin told the court the dock has to be on the water, which puts it in a flood plain.

Enterprise is planning an ethane plant using materials to be sent by pipeline from its Mont Belvieu site.

The court approved a request from County Engineer Corey Oldbury to change back the hours for road and bridge crews to work. During the record-breaking heat of the past summer, Oldbury and the court changed the working hours to 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to let the employees work in cooler morning temperatures. The hours will go back to the regular 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The county's new budget year started October 1 and several items of business included routine contract renewals for the 2023-24 fiscal year. One of those agreements was to renew the agreement with McLennan County to house Orange County Jail inmates in case of a local disaster or evacuation. Jail Captain Eiselstein said McLennan County is raising the cost to $82 per day per inmate.

Tax Assessor-Collector Karen Fisher reported her office, which collects property taxes for all the entities in the county, collected $2.26 million in taxes in September with $262,552 of that for the county.

Her office has collected $174.18 million overall, with $39.05 million for the county.


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