News

Thu
11
Jan

County sales soar as residents rebuild and replace after Harvey

By George Garza

 

Just as local governments closed out 2017 with hefty increases in sales tax allocations, 2018 continued the trend as Orange Countians repair, replace and rebuild that which Harvey damaged or destroyed. Increases ranged from 11 percent in West Orange to almost 67 percent in Pine Forest with dollar amounts ranging from $443,000 for Orange County to $10,000 for Pine Forest. The sales tax is a major component of most local government’s budgets accounting for close to half of all revenue for many.

 

Texas imposes a 6.25 percent state sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Local taxing jurisdictions (cities, counties, special purpose districts and transit authorities) can also impose up to 2 percent sales and use tax for a maximum combined rate of 8.25 percent.

 

 

Thu
11
Jan

Pine Forest reinstates Municipal Court

By George Garza

 

Since November of 2017 the City of Pine Forest City Council has been discussing its existing city ordinances and how to enforce them.

 

“We need to consider reinstating the court, “ said Pine Forest Mayor Cathy Nagel to the council during that November meeting. “We are facing some situations that are starting to arise because of the hurricane have the potential of lowering property values in this city…”

 

Among the many reasons for reinstating the City’s Municipal Court the Mayor pointed to substandard manufactured homes being moved into the city, flooded out homes being sold off unrepaired to absentee owners and other flooded out homes being abandoned without repair or demolition.

 

 

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Tue
09
Jan

Alleged drunk driver steals trooper’s black and white

By George Garza

 

An alleged drunk driver arrested in Orange led Texas Department of Public Safety and other police officers on a thirty four mile chase through Starks, Sulphur and Lake Charles, LA before crashing out on a notorious “S” curve in Lake Charles. And he did it all in a black and white TXDPS patrol car with lights flashing with his hands cuffed together in front of him. According to a Texas Department of Public Safety news release, early Sunday morning, a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)

 

Trooper arrested an alleged intoxicated driver. The suspect later fled from the scene in the patrol vehicle, crashing a short time later, and was taken in custody by law enforcement.

 

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Tue
09
Jan

Could you do it better?

By George Garza

 

With Senator Ted Cruz batting fou r opponents in his bid to seek the GOP nomination this year and with Judge Carlton’s fight to gain the Orange County GOP nomination over challengers Ken Luce and Dean Crooks in the March 6th primary, you might think that the 2018 statewide and county election cycle is filling the calendar with two Primaries in March, a primary runoff election in May followed by November’s General Election.

 

 

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Tue
09
Jan

Not the answers wanted

By George Garza

 

They came with real and legitimate questions for and claims against the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program), FEMA and the SBA. One person said that NFIP was offering only fifty-cents on each dollar of the flood insurance coverage he was carrying on his home.

 

Another said that FEMA had delivered a trailer to her property to be installed on the spot where she intended to rebuild her home. Another said that the NFIP adjuster reduced the value of her home that she has carried flood insurance on. While another claimed she was refused for an SBA loan based on a prior legal conviction, long since she was cleared.

 

 

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Thu
04
Jan

County renews commitment to “Pride and Progress”

By George Garza

The Orange County Commissioners’ Court voted Tuesday to continue to offer tax abatements on new Orange County property taxes assessed to individual property owners for improvements to their properties that lie within the City of Vidor’s reinvestment zones. In voting to continue to offer tax abatements on any additional new value property evaluation, property taxes, the Commissioners’ Court is showing their willingness to help the city with incentives for homeowners to improve their properties or for new residents to move into and build in the city.

Mayor Robert Viator, Jr. was on hand to make the City’s pitch to the Court to continue their tax abatement commitment.

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Thu
04
Jan

Rose City City Hall is recovering

By George Garza

The City of Rose City and its residents have been facing numerous hurdles to progress in storm recovery since the city was inundated by roof topping flood waters during and following Hurricane Harvey. Most residents, at least those that have returned to their homes, are struggling to survive as they wait for funding, materials and/ or contractors just to get started with home restoration. The badly damaged city water plant has been plagued with delays in repairs. And storm waters have washed out sections of Old Highway 90 that were recently repaved with federal Hurricane Ike Recovery funding.

Thu
04
Jan

Claiborne West Park to reopen

By George Garza

Despite the fact that the Orange County Parks Department building and all of its equipment was destroyed in the floods of Hurricane Harvey, parks employees, sometimes using nothing more than hands, arms, their legs and backs, have managed to clean up the County’s Claiborne West Park well enough to invite the public for limited use.

“They will open the gates on Monday for the public but until some unfinished items are completed, we won’t begin accepting reservations for the park until March 1st,” said Sabrina Gray, the newly named Parks Department Director. “We won’t do any events scheduled for January or February as we continue to get one of restrooms up and running.

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Tue
02
Jan

Firefighters shiver at late night fire scene

No one injured in workshop fire

By George Garza

Freezing temperatures with brisk north winds do not deter Vidor’s firefighters from carrying out their protection services.

According to Orange County Emergency Services District #1 Assistant Fire Chief Robert Smith, district firefighters were called out twice, shortly after the New Year arrived, to fight structure fires in the bitter cold of the night.

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Tue
02
Jan

Warming stations offered

But you must call first before going to these shelters

By George Garza

With bitterly cold and unusually low temperatures invading Southeast Texas for the first time in nearly eight years, everyone in Orange County is looking to stay indoors and stay warm. Unfortunately, that is not so easy for some, including some victims of Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters.

There are people in Vidor who are currently living in gutted out homes, awaiting contractors or materials. Others are living in thin-skinned travel trailers or the like. These people may find it difficult to stay warm and toasty.

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