County’s 2021 road work detailedWest 42nd widening to be extended

Ector County commissioners Tuesday accepted Public Works Director Evans Kessey’s 2020 roads and streets construction report and heard his 2021 plan to spend $5.2-million widening, upgrading and improving drainage on West 42nd Street from FM 1936 to Moss Avenue.
Other work on the highways and streets department’s schedule this year includes the $7.2-million widening and rehabilitation of 8.2 miles of Cottonwood Road from U.S. 385 to the Midland County line, the $1.4-million widening and upgrading of four miles of Apple Street from 385 to Jasper Avenue and the $789,000 widening and rehabilitation of a mile of West 87th Street from 385 to North County Road West.
Kessey said that among work accomplished during the past year, financed largely by the 1.25-cent sales tax that was authorized by the voters in 2018, was the $5-million widening and upgrading of West 42nd from the Kermit Highway to West Loop 338.
Saying that his crews had worked throughout the year in the trying circumstances of the pandemic, he said, “I’m proud for my employees.”
In their bi-monthly review of COVID-19-related concerns, the commissioners agreed that a mass vaccination should be organized as soon as enough vaccine is received either from the Pfizer or Moderna pharmaceutical companies, which are the medicines’ principal manufacturers.
Noting that Medical Center Hospital, Odessa Regional Medical Center and the county health department had injected a few thousand people in recent weeks as the vaccines trickled in, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Gardner said, “The hospitals have done a stand-up job, but they are in kind of cramped-up spaces.
“We need to find places where we can do it more efficiently and people will have a place to wait for a little bit and see if they’re going to have a reaction,” the commissioner said.
In other business in the 10 a.m. meeting, the court heard Building Maintenance Director Charles Pierce’s appeal for overtime pay to be made permanent for all county employees and voted unanimously for overtime henceforth to be paid to the health, information technology, cemetery and building maintenance departments.
Answering a question from Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Simmons, Auditor Randy Donner had said he was unsure how overtime for all employees could be paid for now that the 2020-21 budget has gone into effect.
The county’s general existing system is for compensatory time to be taken for overtime work.
>> Voted to sign sworn statements to claim $671,137 in hail damages to county buildings on June 14, 2017, and $401,146 on March 28 in hail damages to county buildings that year from Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. of Canton, Mass.
>> Accepted donations to the sheriff’s office of $75 from Phillip Godwin, $100 from Judith Hayes, $2,000 from the Ector County Republican Party and $12,000 from the Barnhart Bolt & Special Fasteners company.
>> Heard an annual update from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent Steve Paz and his assistants. Abigail Pritchard, Jeanette Castanon and Christy Curran, on family and community health initiatives, 4-H Club development, horticulture and other projects.
>> Approved two-year appointments to the airport advisory board for Richard Browning, Mark Merritt, Winston Kenworthy, Travis Fisher and Monnie Sparkman.
>> Nominated Levi Bryand of the LCA civil engineering company to the Region 14 Upper Rio Grande Regional Flood Planning Group.
>> Accepted the City of Odessa’s donation of 70 Motorola XTS 2500 single-band 800 MHz radios to the volunteer fire departments.
>> Heard local attorney Robert White’s update on the State of Texas’s pending settlement with national pharmaceutical companies on damages from opioid abuse and adopted the Texas Local Government Investment Pool’s Term Sheet Program, which tailors investments for cities, counties, school districts and other public investors.
>> OK’d a payment to Johnson Controls, which is about one-third finished with its $6.9-million contract to upgrade lights and heating-air conditioning in county buildings, including the replacement of all 87 Freon air conditioning units, the replacement of all lights with light-emitting diodes and the installation of two chillers at the courthouse.
>> Approved applying for a grant through the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission for the purchase of rifle-resistant body armor for the environmental enforcement department.
>> OK’d a $62,228 budget transfer from motor vehicle repairs and maintenance to equipment services.
>> Approved spending $9,200 for diagnostic software for diesel and construction equipment.
>> Accepted certification of Tax Assessor-Collector Lindy Wright’s completion of 20 hours of continuing education.