Designers tabbed for juveniles’ lockup

$25 million in debt will be issued for the building

Ector County commissioners on Tuesday hired a Dallas architectural firm to design the new juvenile center on which construction is scheduled to start early next year near the county law enforcement center just south of Odessa.

Financed by a $25-million debt issuance that the commissioners approved last year, the center will be designed by the Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum Co., which Purchasing Agent Lucy Soto had identified as the No. 1 candidate for the task. A general contractor will now be chosen.

The center will replace the 45-year-old facility at 1401 E. Yukon Road, that Juvenile Probation Director Kevin Mann said in February had become so dilapidated that it wouldn’t be suitable to meet future needs.

In other business during the 10 a.m. meeting in the county administration building at 1010 E. Eighth St., Judge Debi Hays presented her proposed 2021-22 general fund budget for $66.8 million that the court will use as a starting point when it begins writing the new budget next month.

The current fiscal year’s general fund budget is for $64.8 million. The property tax rate is currently 36.5 cents per $100 in valuation.

The court also:

>> Approved Auditor Randy Donner’s biennial budgets for the community supervision and corrections department for 2022 and 2023 for a total of $2,397,434, which will be entirely funded by the state.

>> Transferred a title in the sheriff’s office for a 2015 Chevrolet Caprice for its disposition and removal from the county inventory.

>> Approved bid specifications for building maintenance and housekeeping supplies and equipment.

>> Awarded a bid from UnitedHealth Group of Lubbock for the administration of medical, prescription drug and dental benefits, flexible spending accounts, health savings and health reimbursement accounts and stop-loss re-insurance.

>> OK’d a 12-month interlocal agreement with the regional public defender’s office in Lubbock to take effect Oct. 1.

>> Approved an engagement letter for the Whitley Penn CPA company of Midland to perform the county’s 2021 independent audit.

>> Approved contracts with the Texas Department of State Health Services including one to provide portable coolers for the county health department to use for off-site covid vaccinations.

>> OK’d revised procurement policies and procedures including policy exemptions.

>> Transferred $30,000 from the legal fees category to claim settlements in the self-funded liability fund.