Council approves tax rate for 2021-22

The Odessa City Council voted 6-0 to set the 2021-22 fiscal year tax rate at $0.477115 during their Tuesday work session.

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

City Manager Michael Marrero said the revenue increase is expected due to increased property values and additional housing in the city.

Setting the tax rate requires two votes by council. The council voted 7-0 in favor during their Sept. 14 meeting. Councilwoman Denise Swanner did not attend Tuesday’s work session, which resulted in the 6-0 vote.

Marrero said he expects to have a proposed contract agreement ready for council consideration on Sept. 28 that would result in the city donating a plot of vacant downtown property to Odessa College. The property is the former site of the Odessa American building, which was purchased  in 2016 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.

Odessa College officials recently requested the property at Fourth Street and Jackson where they plan to invest $1.5 million to create 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.

On Tuesday, council reviewed a request from the Fire Rescue department 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 2-3 months, Alvarez said. Ordering a new vehicle would take more than one year to be delivered due to high demand throughout the country.

Council, which has previously expressed support for the purchase, which vote on the request at Tuesday’s council meeting.