City, County discussing courthouse, other issues - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

City, County discussing courthouse, other issues

By Paul Wedding pwedding@oaoa.com | Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2019 5:00 am

A joint meeting has been set between the Odessa City Council and the Ector County Commissioners’ Court to discuss pressing issues, including the state of the Ector County Courthouse.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Ector County annex building, 1010 E. Eighth St.

District 2 City Council Member Dewey Bryant said the meeting was, more than anything, just an opportunity for the two governing bodies to sit down and talk.

“In addition to the courthouse, I think there’s a number of things we need to see if we can just work together on for the benefit of our city,” Bryant said.

Bryant said there is much growth in both Ector County and the City of Odessa, and hopes this meeting can lead to further discussions to help both the city and the county.

Ector County Judge Debi Hays said everything about the potential of a new courthouse is still up in the air, whether it remain downtown or be built in the county near the jail, and said she was told to hang tight until the city tells them what direction they want to go in regarding the courthouse. This was told to her during the last meeting the two groups had about a year ago by one of the city officials, Hays said. She said the courthouse wasn’t as much of a priority for her right now as much as fixing county roads, illegal dumping, or hiring more jailers. The courthouse doesn’t have problems like leaking sewage anymore, she said, since they are no longer housing federal prisoners there.

“My whole goal is to give the employees and the citizens what they absolutely need, what we need to grow, and right now, the courthouse is not one of my priorities,” Hays said.

Another factor, Hays said, is that they will need some sort of financial help to build a new courthouse.

“Their sales tax revenue that they collect is what I have to deal with just for a budget for the whole county,” Hays said.

They will also be discussing the renegotiation of several interlocal agreements between the city and the county. Hays said some of these agreements included issues like animal control, housing inmates at the county jail and housing juveniles at the Ector County Youth Center.

“Just a laundry list of stuff,” Hays said.