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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Commissioners approve new Hwy. 62 RV park


Last updated 1/23/2024 at 5:21pm

Orange County Commissioners Court Tuesday approved the plans for another RV park on Texas Highway 62 south of Interstate 10. The approval for Shadee RV near Dempsey Drive is the first park to come under the county's new regulations.

With an influx of construction workers moving to the area because of new and expanding industrial plants, more RV parks are being developed around the county. Last year, Commissioners Court added some additional rules to assure the RV parks in unincorporated areas meet local standards.

County Environmental Health and Code Compliance Director Joel Ardoin told the court the new RV park has passed the regulations for his department, for the county's Road and Bridge Department, and by the Orange County Drainage District. With the court's approval, the developers will be able to get a county permit. The park will be only for RVs and not mobile homes.

During comments at the beginning of the meeting, Precinct 2 Commissioner Chris Sowell thanked Entergy for improving the lines in his area, which helped cut back on the number of outages during the recent freezes.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Kirk Roccaforte, whose area includes the East Roundbunch Swing Bridge outside of Bridge City, said he is working with the Texas Department of Transportation and the Orange County Road and Bridge Department to handle freezing surfaces.

Last week during a winter storm that brought severe weather, a small amount of freezing rain fell, which led to several bridges and overpasses being closed. When the East Roundbunch Swing Bridge is closed, county road and bridge crews open the swing to prevent vehicles from going over the dangerous frozen surface of the bridge.

Roccaforte said the bridge's mechanisms froze, which can be a hazard for county workers. He said perhaps the bridge could be left in place for some vehicles like trucks during a freeze.

The bridge crosses Cow Bayou and is a shortcut to and from Bridge City from the many industrial plants on FM 1006, known as Chemical Row.

A resident on Foreman Road in West Orange asked if signs could be placed at the beginning of the roads that told of bridge closings so traffic would not be faced with having to travel a distance and then turn around.

Roccaforte said TxDOT is supposed to put out the signs when the bridges close. He said some business owners will remove the signs because they are afraid travelers will think their businesses are also closed if the bridge is closed.

In other business, the court approved the sale of fireworks in unincorporated areas for Texas Independence Day, San Jacinto Day, and Memorial Day. A few years ago, the Texas Legislature allowed counties to approve fireworks sales during those holidays in addition to the traditional fireworks sale times around the Fourth of July and Christmas-New Year's.

The sale dates this year will be February 25 through midnight, March 2; April 16 through midnight April 21; and May 22 through midnight May 27.

Orange County Tax Assessor-Collector Karen Fisher reported her office collected $16.75 million in taxes during December, with $4.52 million of that for the county. Her office also collects property taxes for cities, school districts, and special districts in the county. Taxes for this year are due on January 31.

Payments approved by the commissioners were $256,211 from the general fund to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Regional Crime Lab, which provides services to the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Also, $106,937 from the general fun to the Texas Association of Counties HEBP insurance fund for a month of group medical, dental and life insurances for employees under the age of 65. $1,10 from the General Fund to Claybar Funeral Home for indigent funeral expenses. $29,159 from the general fund to Silsbee Ford for a 2023 Ford Escape S FWD. The vehicle was purchased from bidding through a regional government cooperative.

Upon questioning from citizen Cheryl Warren, County Judge John Gothia said the small SUV will be used by the county's maintenance department. He said the county has about 170 vehicles, including sheriff's patrol cars and trucks for the road and bridge department. Replacing that many vehicles appears as if the county is always buying new ones. Gothia said most of the cars are used for 12 years and chalk up more than 200,000 miles before they are replaced.

More payments included $12,000 from the hotel-motel occupancy tax to the Gulf Coast Cajun Chapter for their annual festival, and $7,000 from the same fund to the Conn Park Complex in Vidor for the Texas Star Music Festival. The groups sponsoring those events first spend the money and then give the county receipts for pre-approved expenses for events to booster tourism.

Other payments were $381,611 and $317,516 to T Construction LLC for drainage improvements through federal and state grants.


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