• August 18, 2019

ODC approves incentives plan - Odessa American: News

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ODC approves incentives plan

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019 5:21 pm

After several months of deliberation, the Odessa Development Corporation unanimously approved a workforce housing incentives infrastructure plan aimed at bringing additional workforce housing to the city.

The plan was passed unanimously with a 4-0 vote, ODC Board Member Ted Tuminowski was absent, and will be sent to the City Council to be approved at their Tuesday meeting. Should they approve, Odessa Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Wes Burnett said they will begin opening applications to begin the process.

Essentially, the plan works by providing incentives to builders to cover the cost of infrastructure — water-, sewer- and transportation-related facilities — in exchange for building housing that meets a certain criteria. Aiming the price of the house toward a median family income range of 80% to 120%, this in Odessa is $73,900. The plan was initially to set that range from $130,000 to $275,000, but Burnett said they actually lowered that maximum number to $225,000 in hopes it would be more affordable.

While there was some questioning by Tuminowski and fellow ODC Board Member Gene Collins about the legality of the plan using type A sales tax funds, the city cited Local Government Code, which allows the money to be used for certain infrastructure improvement projects.

“We’re not buying lots, we’re not constructing houses,” Burnett said. “This is to assist, on the back end, the cost that is involved with infrastructure.”

These incentives would be paid through $5 million set aside by the city that was going to a Summit clean energy coal plant project before Summit went bankrupt. Burnett said these incentive funds would be provided once the house has been appraised and a certificate of occupancy has been issued. Collins suggested that once the certificate has been given, he would be satisfied and they should be directly given their incentives, skipping approval by ODC and City Council.

“That’s the best thing that you’ve said today,” Burnett told Colins. “That cuts out a lot of the process. If they’ve checked off all the boxes, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to get their funds.”

ODC also approved two capital investment projects submitted by Burnett. One project, for the Odessa-based company Odessa Separator, would be a $9 million capital investment of about 93 jobs, 34 of those being retained jobs. The company will be expanding in Odessa, and will be given $550,000 a year for five years to meet its capital investment and employment requirements.

Another project is a smaller capital investment to the old tire recycling facility on West Murphy Street. Burnett said this would provide an additional 20 jobs to the area over the course of a year, with $357,000 in incentives paid out over five years. Burnett said this project has been spinning for some time and wants it to move forward to take care of the stockpile of tires out there and the environmental concern they cause.

“If this works, this is a huge win for Odessa I think for a very minimum investment in jobs,” he said.

Odessa, TX

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