County to consider gas cards for employee vehicles

From left, Commissioner Danny Garcia, Precinct 1; Commissioner Kevin Janak, Precinct 2; Commissioner Gary Burns, Precinct 3; Commissioner Clint Ives, Precinct 4; and County Judge Ben Zeller

After Hurricane Harvey caused millions of dollars in damage to Victoria County buildings, local officials will begin repairing them as soon as possible.

Monday, county commissioners will discuss a proposal that would allow the county to hire companies to fix county property without going through a public bid process. Without waiving that process, it could take up to six weeks before the county could start fixing damages, County Judge Ben Zeller said.

"In situations like this, (the county can) begin work immediately and not be burdened by all the normal red tape," Zeller said.

Usually, state law requires local governments to allow companies to compete to work on projects. But in emergency situations, county commissioners can vote to waive that rule to speed up recovery, Zeller said.

Hundreds of homes, businesses and government properties were damaged when Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Gulf Coast. Officials don't have an exact estimate for damages in the community yet, but they do know there was millions of dollars in damage to governmental buildings, Zeller said.

The worst of it occurred at the Victoria Regional Airport, he said. But the fire marshal's office and archive buildings were also impacted, he said.

Fortunately, the county won't be on the hook to pay for most of the repairs, he said.

"Insurance will pay for virtually all the damage," said Zeller. "Even though the damage is in the millions, our reserve fund is not going to be hit in that amount."

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Marina writes about housing, Hurricane Harvey recovery and local politics for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach Marina by emailing mriker@vicad.com or follow her on Twitter, @MarinaStarleaf.

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