• October 21, 2019

City approves debt despite protest - Odessa American: News

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City approves debt despite protest

Taxes will also go up

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Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:47 pm

The Odessa City Council approved Tuesday night to accept an additional $93 million in debt to be put toward many capital improvement projects, in spite of several residents speaking out against the issuance. 

Council members approved the debt with a 5-1 vote. District 4 Council Member Tom Sprawls was the sole vote against the issuance, having said he would prefer to bring the issue before voters. At-Large Council Member Peggy Dean was out of town. 

Projects proposed to be undertaken using the $93 million debt issuance include a new animal shelter for the Odessa Police Department, an additional fire station in north Odessa, and multiple roadway improvement projects. 

Before approving the debt, many Odessa residents approached the council, disapproving of the debt issuance and asking for the chance to vote on such an option. 

Richard Pierce said he knew many of the projects were needed, and said he would vote for a bond if it did go to a vote, but did not approve of the City Council approving the bond without taking it to the voters. 

“I feel that $93 million in obligation bonds, it’s a lot to approve without putting it to the voters. It’s a lot of debt,” Pierce told the council. “We the people put our trust in you when we elected you, but something this large, I believe, should be put to the residents of Odessa.”

Former District 4 Council Member Mike Gardner also spoke out. While he said he understood the need for the debt, he also had concerns about approving the debt without approval from voters. 

“Do we have it written down in stone what this $93 million is going to or is it something that you guys can just mess with how you want to?” Gardner asked. “I would like for there to be some accountability for what you’re spending the money on.” 

Larry Robinson also told council members he believed the debt should be a bond issue for voters to decide on, and said voters would not support efforts presented with  lack of trust, transparency and communication. 

“The city has been doodling in the margins of the State Debt Code,” Robinson said. “There is no emergency, there has been no disaster. Many cities have used this method of circumventing the public’s vote to envelop their taxpayers with huge debt … Please do not go forward on this without the voters’ support.”

Before finally approving the debt, District 5 Council Member Mari Willis said the council heard the concerns, but that she would be voting yes because the debt would pay for dire needs for the city. 

“Many of these needs, in my opinion, are in very critical condition, and some even on life support,” Willis said. “I don’t believe it is being fiscally irresponsible. I feel to not address the issues and let them die, and then eventually having to attempt to revive them from death would be fiscally irresponsible.”

The city will receive the $93 million in debt Sept. 12.

Council members also voted unanimously in favor of proposing to establish the tax rate for the next fiscal year at $0.476601 per $100 valuation, the same rate as last year. This is still effectively a tax increase due to property values rising. Assistant City Manager Cindy Muncy said there would be a $68 increase for the year in property taxes for the average home value, which was evaluated to be $144,018. 

Pierce spoke to council members again, this time in favor of keeping the rate the same. 

“I say this knowing my property taxes will go up, but the city needs the money,” Pierce said. “Just don’t raise the rate in the future. As long as you keep it the same rate, I’ll be for it.”

 There will be two public hearings about the proposed rate at 6 p.m. Aug. 27 and Sept. 10. The final two votes to establish the rate will be held Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. 

IN OTHER BUSINESS, COUNCIL MEMBERS 

>> Approved special City Council minutes, July 22, 2019.

>> Approved special City Council minutes, July 23, 2019.

>> Approved City Council minutes, July 23, 2019.

>> Approved City Council Workshop minutes, July 26, 2019.

>> Approved City Council Work Session minutes, Aug. 6, 2019.

>> Approved an ordinance amending the Odessa City Code Chapter 12 “Traffic and Vehicles” Articles 12-1 “General Provisions” and Article 12-2 “Operation of Vehicles” by adding references to Code authority for traffic regulation and a list of all currently signalized intersections in Odessa (Ordinance – Second and Final Approval).

>> Approved amending the Odessa City Code Chapter 6 “Health And Sanitation”, Article 6-9 “Ambulances”, Section 6-9-31 “Fees” to raise ambulance rate charges (Ordinance – Second and Final Approval).

>> Approved an ordinance amending the Odessa City Code of Ordinances, Chapter 3 “Building Regulations”, Article 3-15 “Streets And Sidewalks”, by amending Division 6 “Vegetation” and adding a new Division 7 “Network Nodes in Public Right-of-Way” (Ordinance – Second and Final Approval).

>> Approved an Ordinance revision for the Sherwood Community Building rental fees (Ordinance - Second and Final Approval).

>> Approved amending the Odessa City Code Chapter 6, "Health and Sanitation", Article 6-5, "Accumulations, Weeds, Rubbish, Brush or Other Objectionable Matter: by amending Sections 6-5-5, 6-5-7, 6- 5-8 and 6-5-9 and adding Section 6-5-10, to provide for payment on costs incurred (Ordinance - Second and Final Approval).

>> Approved the 2019-2020 Budget of $1,045,786 for the Emergency Communication District of Ector County (Resolution).

>> Approved a resolution authorizing the City of Odessa Police Department to jointly with Ector County apply for and accept a grant in the total amount of $91,770, amending the fiscal budget to appropriate awarded funds as additional grant revenue and authorizing the expenditure of awarded grant funds from the 2019 BJA Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, as adjusted by an interlocal agreement with Ector County to be considered along with this grant request (Resolution).

>> Approved accepting a 2020 STEP Speed, Intersection Traffic Control, and Driving Under Influence Grant in the amount of $25,717.27 (Resolution).

>> Approved an Interlocal Agreement with Ector County to authorize City of Odessa to join with Ector County in applying for and accepting upon approval, and for allocating to each party their portion of the $91,770.00, 2019 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds (Resolution).

>> Approved annual renewal of Motorola/Premier One Software for $295,851. 

>> Approved the City of Odessa's participation in UTPB STEM Academy's Career and Technology Education Career Prep/Internship Practicum Program. 

>> Approved the request of PTCAA Texas, LP, owner, for annexation to the City of Odessa and original zoning of Light Industrial (LI) on Lot 1, Block 1, Flying J Addition (northwest corner of the intersection of Kermit Hwy. and W. Loop 338) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved the request of Collinwood Management Inc, owner, and John Gannon, Inc., agent, for original zoning of Light Industrial (LI) on Lot 25-27, Block 3, Industrial Sites (northeast of the intersection of SE Loop 338. and Trunk St.) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved the request of DiDi Pavlicek, owner, and Keith Jankowski, optionee, for original zoning of Light Industrial (LI) Lot 1, Block 1, Fenton Addition (northeast of the W Hwy 80 Service Rd and W. 2nd St. intersection) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved the request by Leeco Energy and Investments,

 owner, LCA, agent, for original zoning of Special Dwelling District (SPD) on an approx. 64.46 acre tract in Section 2, Block 42, T-2-S, T&P Ry. Co. Survey, Odessa, Ector County, Texas (northeast of the intersection of Dawn Ave. and Boise Dr.) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved the request by Odessa Housing Finance Corporation, owner, LCA, agent, for rezoning from Special Dwelling District (SPD) to Multi-Family-One (MF-1) on an approx. 7.14 acre tract in Section 38, Block 42, T-1-S, T&P Ry. Co. Survey, Odessa, Ector County, Texas (south of the intersection of Hunter Miller Way and 87th St.) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved the request by Noelle Land & Minerals, owner, LCA, agent, for rezoning from Special Dwelling District (SPD) to Planned Development-Office (PD-O) on Lot 20, Block 11, Vista del Norte, 5th Filing (northeast of the intersection of Parks Legado Rd. and La Campana Dr.) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved the request of Alfonso & Ester Leal, owners, JARB Holdings, LLC, optionee, to rezone from Light Industrial (LI) to Single Family-Four (SF-4) on Lots 30-35, Block 1 and Lots 37-43, Block 2, Galindo Addition (northwest and southwest corner of the intersection of S. Crane Ave. and Martines Pl.) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved the request by JCF, Inc, owner, SW Howell, agent, for original zoning of Light Industrial (LI) on Lot 5, Block 1, Bridges Subdivision; Lots 1, 3, & 4, Block 16, West Interstate Industrial Sites 3-41; 16.33 acres out of the southeast quarter of Section 32, Block 42, T-2-S; and 17.92 acres out of the north part of Section 41, Block 42, T-2-S, T&P Ry. Co Survey, Odessa, Ector County, Texas (southwest of the intersection of Maurice Rd. and S. County Road West.) (Ordinance – First Approval). 

>> Approved codifying the current Downtown Infrastructure and Façade Grant Guidelines used for ODC grants and amending the Odessa City Code Chapter 11 “Taxation and Finance” by adding a new Article 11-4 “Downtown Infrastructure and Façade Grants ” to codify these policy guidelines and criteria, and adding reference to creation of new Design Review Board. (First Approval). 

>> Approved a revision to a City Ordinance that adds a section addressing excessive absenteeism by the Citizens' Golf Advisory Committee members. (First Approval). 

>> Approved amending the Odessa City Code Chapter 3 “Business Regulations”, Article 3-4 “Electricity”, Division 2 “Electrical Code”, Section 3-4-32 “Amendments. (Ordinance - First Approval). 

>> Approved a contract granting an economic development incentive to Rack Industries, LLC for a total grant of $2,757,294. 

>> Approved the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 1 (“TIRZ”) bylaws, authorizing the City Manager to execute any documents necessary to implement this resolution, and declaring an effective date. 

>> Approved accepting the recommendation of the Board of Directors for the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 1 of Toby Eoff as chairperson; authorizing the City Manager to execute any necessary documents; and declaring an effective date. 

>> Approved appointing Council member Tom Sprawls to the Permian Basin Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Odessa, TX

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