Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Court wants public aware of elder abuse

Last year in Orange County, the Texas Department of Family Protective Services investigated 377 cases of abuse of the elderly or disabled, and filed against 260 cases.

Orange County Commissioners learned those statistics Tuesday as they signed a proclamation making June Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

Abuse of the elderly and disabled can fall under a variety of categories, according to the state. Violations are a third degree felony punishable by two to ten years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The Department of Family Protective Services reports different categories of abuse, including physical abuse that may cause scratches, cuts, bruises, broken bones, or bedsores. "It can also result in confinement, rape or sexual misconduct, and verbal of psychological abuse."

Forms of negligence like starvation, dehydration, over or under medication, unsanitary living conditions, or lack of personal hygiene are also considered abuse.

"Neglected adults may also not have heat, running water, electricity, medical care," according to the department.

The "exploitation" category includes taking or misusing money from Social Security, a joint checking account, or other loses of property or money.

The hotline for reporting abuse of the elderly or disabled is 800-252-5400. The local office for the Department of Family Protective Services at 2200 Gloria Drive in Orange off Interstate 10 East.

Other business Tuesday for the court was mostly routine, including some budget transfers as departments move money around to meet the needs of the current fiscal year, which will end September 30.

Commissioners will begin working on the 2023-24 budget this Thursday, June 27, with the first budget workshop set for 9 a.m. to noon in the Commissioners Courtroom, 123 Sixth Street. The county maintenance department is set for 9 a.m. and then the sheriff's office. The budget workshops are open to the public.

During Tuesday's meeting, the court approved moving $120,000 from the road materials category in the Road and Bridge Department to equipment repairs and rental. County Engineer Corey Oldbury said the rented equipment was used to make repairs covered by grants from Hurricane Harvey damage. He said he is expecting another lump sum grant payment to help cover the costs.

Tax Collector-Collector Karen Fisher reported her office collected $2.49 million in property tax payments in May, with the county's share $377,384. Her office also collects and then disburses property taxes for cities, school districts, and special districts in the county.

The court agreed for the county to sign two inter local agreements with the Orange County Drainage District for cooperation in issuing permits for land developments in the county.

"We've been working with the drainage district for some time," Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin told the court. The agreements will "make it official."

The agreements include sharing FEMA some restricted information between the county and drainage district.

Doug Manning, legal counselor for the drainage district, said the county, city, and district have been coordinating to ensure new developers comply with regulations.

"It's constantly a battle between economic development and protecting our community," he said.

The coordination between the entities works to assure that a new business or housing development's plan will not cause flooding to nearby property owners.

The court also approved a replat of 1.15 acres in Precinct 4 off Evangeline Drive. The replat will be for two lots of Magnolia Park, an unrecorded subdivision. The plans have been approved by the drainage district.

Other business included legal matters related to the work for Community Development Block grants related to storm recovery projects. Two of the contract amendments involved repairs from Harvey and two from Tropical Storm Imelda.


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