Vidor makes progress on Pride and Progress

By: Sharon Brooks - The Examiner

With Orange County recently agreeing to tax abatements related to the program and numerous substandard structures identified by code enforcers having already been demolished, the city of Vidor is making excellent progress in its “Pride and Progress” initiative, reports City Manager Mike Kunst.

“It’s going well,” said Kunst. “We’ve already demolished several structures and have provided dumpsters at locations where there’s new construction or demolition by the owner.”

In January, The Examiner reported that Vidor would be providing tax abatements in five reinvestment zones inside the city for new residential construction and for substantial home improvements totaling $15,000 or more in an effort to draw in more residents and more businesses. In addition to the tax abatements being offered to promote growth, city code enforcers have been working to identify substandard residential buildings for potential demolition to make Vidor a more attractive place to live and work. The city also provides dumpsters within the reinvestment zones for qualifying construction projects and demolitions by owners.

The actions are part of the city’s Pride and Progress initiative, and on July 12, Vidor received a boost to the program from the county. Orange County commissioners agreed to participate by offering additional residential tax abatements for new construction and substantial improvements, creating an even larger savings for potential homebuilders and owners looking to renovate or enhance their properties.

Kunst provided an example of the savings builders could expect.

“For construction of a new home worth $100,000, owners can expect a savings of more than $6,000 over seven years. With the tax abatements from the county, they’ll save a couple thousand more, approximately $8,000.”

The attractive prospect is bound to draw in more builders over time, said Kunst.

In January, the city had already identified three substandard structures and marked them for demolition. Four buildings at three addresses, 1140 N. Tannahill, 870 Kent and 535 Woodland, displayed red tag notices indicating their condemnation. Those structures are now gone, and the lots are ready for construction. In addition to those demolitions, Kunst said the city has torn down four other structures at three other locations and hopes to do more once the city budget allows.

“We have to pace ourselves a little because there is more need than funds right now, but there are several on the list of substandard structures already identified,” Kunst explained.

Kunst said now that the city and Orange County are both participating in Pride and Progress, residential homebuilders have good reason to consider construction in Vidor.

“If you build a home in one of our five reinvestment zones, you will have the lowest tax rates available in Orange County,” he surmised.



Emergency Alert Test


On behalf of The City of Vidor, Mayor Viator, and Emergency Management, this is a test of the emergency alerting system.

Our Emergency Alerting System is vital to keep you informed in the event of any emergency situation such as a hurricane, natural or man-made incident, causing a significant disruption to your daily activities. This includes evacuation notices or shelter-in-place instructions. 


If you did not receive a text message and live or work in the City of Vidor, please take time to register your cell phone by calling 1-844-578-STAN, that number again 1-844-578-7826, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. 



Ruth Woods, former Vidor mayor who opposed klan, dies

By Dan Wallach

Ruth Woods, who served as Vidor's mayor for almost three years in the early 1990s and stared down the Ku Klux Klan as she fought for desegregation of public housing in her city and prevailed in a recall attempt launched by the racist group, has died. She was 82.

Woods was a month short of her 83rd birthday when she died Saturday at Harbor Hospice in Beaumont.

During her tenure as Vidor mayor, Woods battled public perception of Vidor as a racist city on a television program and in Texas Monthly magazine, in an article published in December 1993.

She also withstood threats of physical harm from the racist group whose members fought efforts to desegregate an all-white public housing complex in Vidor.

Former Mayor Larry Hunter, who preceded Woods in office, said Woods was courageous for her stand and she did the right thing and got council rallied with her.

Hunter, a lawyer in private practice in Beaumont who still lives in Vidor, said her council for the first time in the city's history, denied a parade permit to an outside "nationalist" group that wanted to protest the desegregation order.


"It was good money spent, saying no," Hunter said. "We were tired of being the stomping grounds for such malarkey."

Woods, in an early 1994 article in The Enterprise, sharply criticized the tabloid TV program "A Current Affair" for a segment is showed using hidden cameras to report on a black man living in Vidor for two weeks.

Texas Monthly, in December 1993, had published a 12-page piece titled "The Most Hate-Filled Town in Texas," referring to Vidor.

"I thought Texas Monthly was a sleaze bag and that nobody in journalism or whatever they call themselves could stoop any lower, but 'A Current Affair' did," she said.

The article never mentioned the racist protests began with agitation from a klan leader based in Cleveland or that a so-called nationalist group from Mississippi sought the parade permit.

Hunter said he had run for mayor, defeating four other candidates including Woods to impose a half-cent sales tax for the city. Once he'd accomplished that, he asked Woods to run, which she did in 1991.

"I finished my term, then the roof caved in," he said, referring to the struggles about race.


Regional Public Transportation Coordination Plan Update 2017

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DOWNLOAD this flyer in PDF format

The South East Texas Regional Planning Commission (SETRPC) is gathering public comment to update the South East Texas Area Regional Public Transportation Coordination Plan.

The updated plan will contain strategies for increasing the availability and efficiency of public transportation services for all neighborhoods and communities in Jefferson, Orange, and Hardin Counties.

SETRPC is requesting your attendance at one of the listed public meetings to provide your input for updating this important plan.

PUBLIC MEETINGS: July 19, 20, 21, 25

City of Orange
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – 2 pm
Public Library
220 North 5th Street
Orange, TX
City of Beaumont
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – 3 pm
Theodore Johns Library
4255 Fannett Road
Beaumont, TX
City of Port Arthur
Thursday, July 21, 2016 – 3 pm
Port Arthur Public Library
4615 9th Avenue
Port Arthur, TX
City of Silsbee
Monday, July 25, 2016 – 3 pm
Public Library
295 North 4th Street
Silsbee, TX

C O N T A C T:
Bob Dickinson


Independence Day 2016

picture of the declaration of independence laying on top of the american flagThis year marks the 240th anniversary of our nation’s founding. 
On Monday, July 4th, City of Vidor offices will be closed in observance of Independence Day. The Sanitation Department will run its normal Monday route.  Anyone desiring to make a payment to either the Sanitation Department or Municipal Court may use the appropriate drop box located in the rear parking lot of the City Hall Municipal Building.

Please join the City of Vidor and Americans everywhere in celebrating 240 years of freedom!