Commissioners address concerns of Harvey insurance claims at the airport

The Victoria County Commissioners along with the Airport Board called a joint meeting to discuss Hurricane Harvey insurance claims at Victoria Regional Airport.

It was a packed house as commissioners addressed Harvey insurance claims at the airport.

“After seeing there was a lot of misinformation floating around we called a joint meeting of our Airport Board and commissioners court to address any questions,” says Ben Zeller, County Judge.

The questions raised by both the community and Airport Board is the county’s management of the insurance money for the Victoria Regional Airport.

“This was a team and a group decision, there was no individual person making decisions along the way and it was under the direction of commissioners court. We were able to answer questions about how the process works and how the contractor was chosen,” tells Zeller.

County Judge Ben Zeller says there were about 70 county buildings damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
He also states the regular bidding process was bypassed from a recommendation by the Texas Association of Counties because it was an emergency.

“The contractor that we used was onsite, available and ready to work, and they were recommended by our insurance carrier. The commissioners court had supported that unanimously,” adds Zeller.

Commissioners say they are reviewing who did the work, the work performed, and the work quality to protect taxpayer money.

“Well the contractor came calling about the payment of the $876,000 invoice and by our progress we knew that for certain we owed them at least $500,000 dollars. Our contract states payment required 30 days after the billing cycle well it was 90 days out,” explains Kevin Janak, Precinct 2 Commissioner.

The County Auditor has reviewed the matter and even hired an outside auditor.

“We have an outside auditor, auditing the auditor who has a complete separation from us and the committee. So that should settle if there are any funds that are missing which there isn’t. Never have been,” declares Janak.

The airport board explained they would want to be more involved next time.

“It was a big process and after anything like this, there are things that you can always look back at and say we could have done better,” exclaims Zeller.

A lot of the questions surrounded the Airport Officers Club where $400,000 dollars went to restore the building.

So people believe that was too much money spent but the county maintains it has historical value. The county plans to rent it out for events in the future.

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