• September 19, 2020

Council makes it official - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

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Council makes it official

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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 2:22 pm

The Odessa city council approved the second and final vote to raise water, sewer and solid waste rates by 2.5 percent during a Tuesday morning work session at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.

Council also voted to raise the 2020 tax rate to $0.477115 cents per $100 property valuation for municipal maintenance, operations and debt service which is a $.000514 or .11 percent increase of the current $0.476601 tax rate.

All of the council members voted to raise the rates and the tax rate except for District 2 council member Dewey Bryant who was not present during the work session. Bryant previously voted for the higher rates along with other council members during a Sept 8 meeting.

Assistant City Manager of Administrative Services Cindy Muncy said that the change in rates to sewer and water is due to deteriorating water and sewer lines “…our water mains are needing to be replaced so all of these things are adding up and we’ve recently gone through some master plans that’s highlighted the areas that’s most critical and we need to start working on those areas so that we’re replacing instead of having breaks and having to come in on an emergency basis,” she said in an interview.

Muncy said that water and sewer will raise about $1.3 million in additional revenue and the city added an additional $3 million to their budget to work on repairing and replacing water and sewer lines including some that are reportedly over 45 years old.

Muncy said that the city made budget cuts to make up for the other portion of the $3 million.

She added that the city will make about $360,000 from the solid waste rate, which was raised because of increased landfill tipping fees.

Muncy said that the reason property taxes are a slight increase from the prior rate is because there has been a decrease in over all evaluations. While residential real estate values increased, commercial values decreased, she detailed.

“The council determined that we should go with the “No New Revenue” rate this year due to the economy in the area. We could have gone to the voter approval rate, which would have been slightly higher.”

Rates will reportedly go into effect on Oct. 1.

District 5 council member Mari Willis said during the meeting that she understands that times are hard because she also has to pay water, sewer and trash bills and added that raising the rates now is better than waiting.

“If we have to do it later, it just doubles the cost and so that’s even more that we have to pay,” she said.

At-Large council member Peggy Dean urged citizens to look at the master plans on the city website because they explain the need for the rate increases.

Council also voted to amend the Water, Conservation, and Drought Contingency plan and voted to purchase public safety laptops and equipment for $268,732.

Odessa, TX

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