Out of 56 inquiries regarding the leasing of land at Schlemeyer Field for oil and gas drilling, only one bid came in to the county – and it wasn’t even the company that planned to drill there in the first place.
Ector County commissioners voted Monday to reject the bid of Aghorn Energy to lease land at the airport to drill in the surrounding area. Engineer for county projects John Landgraf, of Landgraf, Crutcher & Associates Inc., said that the market for leases is about $500 to $1,000 per acre, and advised commissioners they could get more than the $56 per acre offered.
Landgraf said the drilling company that had first inquired about the possibility, Windsor Permian LLC, had run in to trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration regarding restrictions. That combined with finds of brackish water, meant developing the proposed drilling would be too expensive, a Windsor representative told Landgraf. Other companies did not give their reasons for not returning bids.
The court also approved the purchase of a “trailer mounted pressure washer” costing $4,995 for the Building Maintenance Department. Following a brief discussion about the legality of such a device given the city of Odessa’s strict water restrictions set to go into effect April 1, commissioners approved the purchase.
Judge Susan Redford explained the area around courthouse downtown continues to be overrun with grackles and other birds, continually splattering the pavement with their excrement.
Previously the county had been able to wash down the sidewalk with hose-water, but the new restrictions mean they need a self-contained unit to do clean up around the courthouse.
“It smells terrible,” Redford said. “That’s why we need this desperately.”
Redford said the county had asked Texas Cooperative Extension’s Wildlife Services unit to take a look at the situation in January because that’s the only unit that’s licensed to kill the grackles. Redford said they hadn’t considered it enough of a problem then, but she was contacting them to come out again.
Commissioners rejected a bid to sell a property as 3217 Chestnut Ave., for $3,000, far less than its appraised value of more than $12,000. The court also did not authorize a road bore for (pipelines), because Chevron wished to change some of the legal language of the standard agreement for drilling beyond a road by going under it.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Freddie Gardner was not present at the meeting.
IN OTHER ACTION COMMISSIONERS:
Approved reducing number of polling locations from 28 to 21 for May 29 primary elections due to lack of volunteers.
Approved hiring Brandon Blake as deputy at step 4. Blake had previously spent 10 years with the Odessa police department.
Approved travel of Building Maintenance Director Octavio Carrillo and Custodial Foreman Alonzo Acosta to “Philips Lighting Workshop” in Somerset, N.J. at no cost to the county.
Approved consent agenda and accounts-payable fund requirements report.