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1967: New city hall, sales tax begins - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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75 years of the Odessa American 1967: New city hall, sales tax begins

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Posted: Sunday, August 16, 2015 5:30 am

City pay raises: Firefighters, who had formed a union in response to police receiving a sizeable pay increase in 1966, took their demand for a pay increase of their own to voters.

In the April 4 election, more than 8,100 Odessans went to the polls and defeated the pay raise initiative by just 454 votes. In September the City Council approved a $10 per month raise for most city employees and $20 per month for firefighters. In the same month, Ector County approved a 5 percent pay raise for nearly all county employees, and the local school board approved salary increases for all school employees at a cost of nearly $1 million a year.

Sales tax: In early summer, the Texas Legislature passed a bill allowing cities to impose a 1 percent sales tax. Odessa Mayor Preston Parker stated in July that, "We don’t need the sales tax in Odessa right now." Four months later city officials did an about face. On Nov. 26, Parker declared that Odessa should "take advantage of this municipal sales tax at this time." An election date was set for Dec. 28, but the City Council postponed the vote two weeks before the election.

Hotel changes hands: On April 21, businessman Tom "Pinkie" Roden bought the Lincoln Hotel from the Civic Hotel Corp., by taking on $500,000 in old debts. Roden renamed the hotel "Inn of the Golden West" and embarked upon an extravagant remodeling project that would cost over $1 million.

More school bonds: On May 11, voters approved a $1.3 million bond issue for the construction of two new technical vocational buildings at Odessa College. The entire project ultimately would cost $3.3 million. The Gulf Oil Corp., donated its old guest house on West Second to the college on October 25. The 13-bedroom facility was converted into a dormitory. The Ector County Independent School District changed its longstanding policy of not accepting federal aid, agreeing to participate in three major federal programs during the next academic year.


>> In September, Baker Ambulance Service began operating in Odessa, allowing local funeral homes to proceed with plans to discontinue ambulance service.

>> On June 27, city employees moved into the newly completed city hall at Eighth and Lincoln.

>> Howard County wins fourth mens national junior college track and field title in seven years.

>> Hurricane Beulah makes landfall near Brownsville with winds as high as 136 mph. Storm caused 13 deaths and spawned 115 tornadoes.

>> In Tuskegee, Ala. on Jan. 16, Lucius Amerson is sworn in as sheriff, the first black man to serve as sheriff in the South since Reconstruction.

>> On June 12, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that laws banning interracial marriages were unconstitutional.

>> A July 12-17 race riot in Newark, N.J. claims 26 lives and injures more than 1,300. One week later (July 23), the nation’s worst race riot erupts in Detroit, where 43 people are killed and more than $200 million in damage is caused.

>> On Jan. 27, three astronauts— Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee— are killed on the launchpad at Cape Kennedy, Fla. during tests on the Apollo spacecraft. An electrical short is blamed for causing a fire that almost instantly burned out of control because of the 100 percent oxygen atmosphere in the spacecraft.

>>The Super Bowl begins with Super Bowl I as the Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

>>The Grateful Dead release self-titled debut.

>>Gay Brewer Jr. wins the 31st Masters.

>>The war film “The Dirty Dozen” was released.

>>Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” is released.

Information is drawn from news accounts, archives and other historical records.


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