• October 25, 2020

Juvenile detention plan aired - Odessa American: Ector County

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Juvenile detention plan aired

Commissioners view issuing $20 million in debt to finance new center

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Posted: Monday, October 12, 2020 5:02 pm

Ector County commissioners today will consider issuing about $20 million in certificates of obligation to build a new juvenile detention center and replace the 46-year-old facility that has become increasingly dilapidated.

The court on Aug. 11 passed a resolution authorizing the issuance of debt to construct a new center in place of the old 48-bed one at 1401 E. Yukon Rd., which has had numerous compliance problems with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department related to the building’s soundness.

Court members subsequently said the best location is west of the Ector County Detention Center on land the county owns west of U.S. 385 south of town.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Childers said the project had become feasible because the county had paid off most of its $7-million debt from 2015 to buy equipment and put $2 million into a land acquisition fund. “We’ve been having a hard time meeting the state standards because they have changed so much since the 1970s,” Childers said.

“I’ve been out there and have seen the issues.”

Center Director Kevin Mann said the 33,100-square-foot facility’s issues include damages to the metal paneling in the gym and the seepage of rainwater into some rooms where the walls meet the concrete flooring. “We have had plumbing issues where the lines backed up in the front of the building and flooded the offices and the courtroom and conference room,” Mann said.

“We have insecure doors and windows because the door frames and ceiling tiles are rotting out. They had a lot of truants and runaways in the ‘70s, but now the building gets a lot of abuse because the type of kids we’re holding are more destructive. We have more at-risk kids and aggravated felony offenders and the building is not designed to provide for those kind of kids.”

In other business in the 10 a.m. meeting today at the 1010 E. Eighth St. administration building, the court will hold a public hearing on establishing a reinvestment zone for tax abatements related to Origis Energy USA’s $600-million Rockhound Solar Project south of Interstate 20 near Penwell.

That item has been tabled twice while a contract was worked out between Origis and the county with Odessa Chamber of Commerce Development Director Wesley Burnett urging approval on behalf of the Grow Odessa group.

The court will also:

>> Review transferring $20,350 from contract services to road maintenance operations in the sales tax district fund.

>> Consider financing the paving of all caliche roads with a $580,000 budget amendment from the unreserved fund balance to road maintenance operations in the sales tax district fund.

>> Consider passing a resolution commending the work of the Safe Place shelter for battered women and children in recognition of October’s being Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

>> Discuss the county’s “Fix West Texas” program.

>> Consider enrolling county employees in a cybersecurity course.

>> Review writing a letter of intent to the Texas Department of Transportation’s aviation division regarding improvements at Schleymeyer Field.

>> Consider Precinct 4 Commissioner Armando Rodriguez’s request to demarcate three spaces in the administration building parking lot for spaces in which First Basin Credit Union customers may do business.

>> Discuss awarding a low bid of $136,250 through the Sourcewell Cooperative Purchasing Program for the purchase of a 14-yard Kenworth dump truck for the public works department.

>> Consider buying a reach-in refrigerator for the health department.

>> Discuss approving a certificate of substantial approval of phase one of roofing projects on county buildings.

>> Review approving a contract with Alcohol Monitoring Systems Inc.

>> Consider OK’ing a contract with Pivot Technology Services Corp. for a pre-trial video check-in system.

>> Discuss renewing the county’s workman’s compensation program coverage with the Texas Association of Counties.

>> Consider renewing a contract with Travelers Indemnity for the coverage of property, inland marine, commercial general liability, commercial auto liability, commercial auto physical damage, commercial umbrella and excess liability, employee benefits liability, law enforcement liability, public entity management liability, UAV (drone) hull and liability and public entity employment-related practices liability.

>> Review transferring $20,350 from contract services to road maintenance operations in the sales tax district.

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