Ector County Commissioners will vote on whether to ask voters again in May to approve a county sales tax district during their regularly scheduled meeting Monday, after it was previously rejected by a nearly 2-1 margin in the last November election.
The meeting is at 10 a.m. in the commissioners’ courtroom located in the Ector County Administration building annex, 1010 E. Eighth St.
Despite its previous rejection by voters, Eckert said the need for new revenue is still critical among concerns of an ongoing budget crisis.
“If the public expects the same level of service to continue, then it has to find a means of funding its county government,” Eckert previously said. “This sales tax does that responsibly, so that services can be maintained at the current level without jolting them with property taxes.”
The 1.25 percent sales tax would only take tax sales on goods in unincorporated Ector County and, if approved, officials estimate it would raise around $15 million a year, more than a fourth of the county’s $59 million expenditure budget.
Eckert said one of the reasons the tax initiative was previously voted down was because of its association with the failed school bond, and said one possibility was that county residents thought they would bear most of the burden of the tax, instead of realizing most of the money would likely come from travelers and businesses in the county like oilfield companies with high-dollar or high-volume sales.
“Maybe they didn’t feel like they had enough information on it,” Eckert previously said. “I don’t know. I tried. But once a person has the information on this tax, it’s a no-brainer. It’s a good thing because it’s lessening or controlling your property tax rates.”
Eckert is asking the commissioners to put the proposal on the ballot four days ahead of the deadline for the May ballot.
The tax would be levied through the formation of a county assistance district, which would include all of Ector County except Odessa and Goldsmith.
Commissioners will also vote on a proposed resolution approving the bringing of a lawsuit on behalf of Ector County against various drug manufacturers, developers, suppliers and any other potential defendant in connection with opioids. The court first received presentations from law firms last November on why it was imperative they sue these pharmaceutical companies themselves.
“It’s important we move forward as quickly as we can, because otherwise, the state’s going to file a lawsuit and will determine how much money you get,” attorney Jeffrey Simon told commissioners. “If you file your own lawsuit, you get the money directly.”
Commissioners will also vote to approve a proposed retention agreement with the law firm that will be handling the suit, Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C., as well as the local attorney Robert E. White.
The agenda shows the commissioners’ court also plans to discuss legal matters, personnel matters and real estate issues during executive session.
IN OTHER BUSINESS, COMMISSIONERS:
- Will vote to appoint Dr. John Rogers and Mark Merritt as members of the Ector County Airport Advisory Board.
- Will receive a presentation from Wesley Burnett regarding requested economic development incentives, including property tax abatements, sought by Oberon Solar LLC in connection with a potential solar power project in Ector County, and to review, consider and discuss the incentives sought and any other issues raised by or relating to said presentation.
- Will review a yearly report from Vector Fleet Management and approve the acceptance of a check on the Cost Savings Sharing Plan.
- Will vote to approve the placement of signs in the Ector County Courthouse.
- Will vote to approve proposed notary fees to be charged for notarizing documents associated with game room applicants.
- Will vote to approve the 2017 Annual List of Gifts and Memorials to the Ector County Library.
- Will vote on permission for maintenance director to use betterment allowance or make change orders between commissioners’ court meetings relating to the construction of the jail expansion.
- Will vote to approve the proposed purchase of a new reach-in heated cabinet for the jail kitchen.
- Will vote to approve the use of betterment allowance funds to pay for change proposal No. 1, also referred to as CP No. 1, for the new jail addition.
- Will vote to approve the sale by auction of assets and other items on the attached lists and take any further discussion or action deemed necessary.
- Will vote to approve a request to install “advisory speed” limit signs and “rough road” signs on Westcliff Road from 52nd Street to Yukon Road.
- Will vote to approve the following bid specification: Ector County Law Enforcement Waterline Extension.
- Will vote to approve the following bid specifications: Liquid asphalt emulsion, asphalt patching material, graded base material, seal coat aggregate, water and commercial laundry equipment for various facilities.
- Will vote to approve to proposal for the abatement of vehicles.
- Will vote to approve a revised general utility easement for the jail expansion site.
- Will vote to approve a resolution and application for Fiscal Year 2019 and 2020 victim assistance grant Nos. 3288402 and 3546601.
- Will vote to authorize Oncor Electric Delivery, LLC to provide electric facilities to provide electric service for the asphalt emulsion tank located at the Highways and Streets Department for a few of $3,948.64.
- Will vote to approve a proposed change order to replace PVC storm drains to code-approved piping for the Law Enforcement Center jail addition.
- Will vote to approve the proposed renewal of the Social Marketplace Advertising Agreement for an additional six-month social media campaign in relation to the Ector County Immunization Grant.
- Will vote to approve a proposed interlocal application for immunization program funds for fiscal year 2018-2019, and to enter into a contract with the Texas Department of State Health Services for the purpose of providing immunization services to Ector County.
- Will vote to approve proposed step changes for two jailers promoted to Corporal.
- Will vote to approve a proposal to set starting pay for TVFC/ImmTrac Program Outreach Specialist at $14.30/hour.
- Will vote to approve a proposed MHRC Jones Landscape to serve a 2.61 acre tract of land in Section 31, Block 41, and a proposed MHRC for 2.93 acres on 3537 and 3545 N. Mercedes Westgate Acres.
- Will vote to approve the transfer of a copier, from postage and reproduction, to post-sentence monitoring, and with the proposed line item transfers to post-sentence monitoring, copier lease contract in the amount of $1,332, to post-sentence monitoring, office supplies in the amount of $100 from postage and reproduction, copier lease contract in the amount of $1,165, from post-sentence monitoring, departmental furniture and equipment in the amount of $167, and from postage and reproduction, copier supplies in the amount of $100.
- Will vote to approve proposed budget amendments to general fund, OOG Grant- sheriff’s office body armor program, and to sheriff’s office law enforcement supplies, in the amount of $24,540, and a proposed budget amendment to coliseum fund, subscriptions from unreserved fund balance in the amount of $6,000, and a proposed budget amendment to capital improvement fund, road construction from unreserved fund balance in the amount of $98,600.
- Will receive the accounts payable fund requirements report for Feb. 12, 2018 to review county financial statements and reports.