City council to vote on proposed tax rate

The Odessa City Council is expected to approve a proposed 2021-22 fiscal year tax rate of $0.477115 cents during their 3 p.m. Tuesday work session.

The proposed tax rate is the same as the 2020-21 fiscal year, but is still a tax increase as it is projected to increase city revenue by $587,774, Assistant City Manager of Administrative Services Cindy Muncy said.

Council voted to approve the proposed 2021-22 tax rate during their Sept. 14 council meeting. But the measure requires a second vote, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

City Manager Michael Marrero is also scheduled to update council on a request by Odessa College that the city donate a plot of downtown property at Fourth Street and Jackson, to the college.

In 2016, the Odessa City Council purchased the land, which was home to the Odessa American, for about $1.6 million as part of a downtown revitalization effort. The city paid $345,000 to remove the asbestos, demolish the building, and clear the land, City Manager Michael Marrero said.

The school is proposing to initially invest $1.5 million to create more greenspace and landscaping, and construct a stage area for community concerts and events.

The proposed plan would also include the installation of new splashpads, seating areas and additional programs and activities designed to attract a younger crowd downtown, school officials have said.

The college’s long-term plan includes construction of a new three-story school building that would house the college’s entrepreneurial classes and serve as the site for a business incubator where students could launch new businesses.

The work session agenda details that council will discuss the Fire Rescue department’s request to purchase a 2019 Demers Ford F 450 ambulance/chassis for $332,370. The vehicle would be purchased from Siddons Martin Emergency Group, LLC in Denton, TX.
The department would also like to purchase additional equipment for the vehicle, including a cardiac monitor, $29,999.09, a computer, $5,926.17 and a radio system, $16,800. The purchase of the vehicle and equipment would be paid for through the fire rescue’s equipment services account, Chief John Alvarez said.

Alvarez said the ambulance is needed due to increase in services and COVID-19 calls. This vehicle, which was previously used as a demo, would be delivered and ready to use in two to three months, Alvarez said. Ordering a new vehicle would take more than one year to be delivered due to high demand throughout the country.