Council supports removing sports equipment from UTPB

The Odessa City Council on Tuesday directed city staff to try and negotiate an agreement with UTPB that would allow Odessa-based sports associations to immediately begin removing sports equipment and building structures they paid for from UTPB sports facilities.

Council members told City Manager Michael Marrero and City Attorney Natasha Brooks to meet with UTPB officials this week to see if they would agree to let the associations remove their equipment and buildings, which include several large storage facilities.

Marrero warned the council and sports association leaders that UTPB officials might not agree to the plan.

“Let us talk to the University,” Marrero said. “As you know, their attorneys have a different interpretation of our agreement.”

Brooks said Tuesday that her interpretation of the city’s contract with UTPB allows for the city to assign a third party, in this case the sports association, to remove equipment and structures from UTPB sports fields.

UT system attorneys recently sent a letter to Brooks warning that the current lease only allows the city to remove structures and not any third parties.

Council was also forced to table a vote on whether to use certificates of obligation to pay for a $95 million rehabilitation of the current water plant.

That’s because representatives from the Ector County Republican Party submitted petitions prior to the start of the meeting that would instead call for residents to vote on a bond issue to pay for the plant rehabilitation. COs only require a vote by council to proceed.

The Ector County Elections Office is expected to review and verify that signatures on the petitions are valid by Saturday, Assistant City Manager of Administrative Services Cindy Muncy explained to council.

If the petitions are approved, council will vote to accept the petitions during their Aug. 3 work session and schedule a bond election date, Muncy said. If the petitions are not approved council would likely vote on the CO issue at their Aug. 10 council meeting.