Council hears OC agreement details

The Odessa City Council during a virtual work session on Tuesday discussed issues ranging from the federal Payroll Protection Program, a contract for road sealant and to consider an economic development agreement between the Odessa Development Council and the Odessa College Foundation.
Cristal Villegas, a Frost Bank representative, detailed that the second round of the PPP is open to applications from local businesses and that this round of the funding can also be accessed by non-profits.
Saying “we’ve all been impacted by this,” Villegas said those needing information can visit for instructions in both English and Spanish. She said businesses must be able to show a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts due to the pandemic. She added that $284 billion was allocated by the federal government for the program.
The loans provided by PPP can eventually be turned into a forgiven grant for those who meet the criteria. The deadline to apply is either March 31 or until the funding runs out.
Council also heard details about Odessa College’s new health sciences center, which is scheduled to break ground on the campus in the fall of this year.
Wesley Burnett, director of Economic Development, detailed for council the economic development agreement between ODC and Odessa College Foundation for the new construction.
Burnett said the 83,000 square foot building will cost almost $40 million and OC President Gregory Williams said OC has donations and other funding for much of the cost of the building.
Burnett touted the workforce training aspect of the partnership with OC and said 44 jobs will be retained and 16 new jobs created with more than $1 million in payroll.
Williams told council the new center will create jobs and produce a record number of students working in the health science field.
Council also heard a presentation to amend the 2020-21 budget by appropriating an additional $102,536.92 for the cost of the General Election and Runoff Elections. A runoff on city council and costs associated with COVID cleaning and extra voting days as required by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also factored into the higher cost.
City Manager Michael Marrero presented to the council information on an application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for 2021 Competitive 9% Housing Tax Credit for Woodcrest Apartments.
Marrero said Woodcrest Apartments can apply for a tax credit to allow the developer to move residents to another area and to demolish the 74 units that are 50 years old and to build new units. He said all residents will be relocated and that the contractor will be responsible for costs associated with the move.
The residents are all part of an affordable housing project.
Phil Fisher with Sonoma Housing said the long term objective is to serve long term low income housing. He said the program will not cost the city but rather is a federal program and that it would allow newer and more efficient housing. He said the program requires a resolution of support from the city during the Feb. 9 city council meeting and said the project would begin in the fall. The construction costs will be around $14 million and will take about 12 to 14 months to complete.
There are currently 74 households living there now. HUD pays about 2/3 of the rent for most on the property now. Many residents are elderly or disabled. Fisher said the new units could last as long as 40 years.