The Odessa City Council approved a number of infrastructure grants and a facade grant during their Tuesday night meeting as part of a program aimed at helping businesses downtown.
Four grant requests were made by three separate companies and council members voted unanimously to approve all of them with a 6-0 vote. District 3 Council Member Detra White was out of town.
“This was created to help revitalize business downtown,” Assistant City Attorney Robert Carroll told City Council. “The infrastructure grants are an amount of money that the city will give a business owner or a landowner to make sure that there buildings are up to code. It is no more than that.”
Carroll said business inspectors visited the locations to ensure everything being asked for was only to make sure the buildings were up to code. The facade grants, he said, were to improve the outsides of buildings, in order to better drive business.
“No one wants to go into a building they don’t want to look at,” Carroll said.
The first grant application approved by City Council was an infrastructure grant and a facade grant for Gilbert Alaniz and Catalina Nunez, who are restoring an office building at 116 N. Texas Ave. The city will be providing them an infrastructure grant of $7,341.75 and a facade grant $5,848.80. Carroll said this facade grant would be used to clean the outside of the building up, which currently lacks a door and has a broken out window.
Council members also approved an $18,375.25 infrastructure grant for Martinez Assets Management, who own a building at 400 E. Seventh St., which houses several businesses.
The last infrastructure approved will give $45,791.70 to Proteus Salon, which Carroll said needed its entire roof replaced, which is about 9,000 square-feet.
Council also approved allocating $50,000 in excess sales tax dollars from this budget year toward aiding in the efforts of the 2020 U.S. Census, which Mayor David Turner said was vital for Ector County and the city.
“It’s for state funding and for road funding,” Turner said. “If we’re undercounted, that means us taxpayers have to pick up the difference.”
There was some tension during a briefing prior to the meeting when Permian Strategic Partnership Executive Vice President Michael Wise gave a presentation about his organization to the Council. Marrero had informed District 1 City Council Member Malcolm Hamilton he and Turner had met with Wise to talk about ongoing housing projects, including looking at identifying vacant lots for development in District 1.
“Who’s the Councilman of District 1?” Hamilton asked Marrero.
“That would be you, sir,” Marrero replied.
“And you wouldn’t think to include me in the meeting if that’s the case, Michael?”
“I did not at that moment, sir.”
Wise added that he had invited Marrero and Turner to meet with him. Hamilton told Marrero afterwards he wanted to be in any meetings involving his district. Marrero told him he was looking at needs for the entire city, the two talked over each other for a moment before Marrero said he understood Hamilton was a council member.
“All right, well then act like it,” Hamilton said.
“Easy now,” Turner interrupted. “We don’t need to be disrespectful.”
A few more words were had then Turner told Hamilton he was in charge of the meeting.
“And?” Hamilton said.
“And, end of discussion,” Turner responded.
IN OTHER BUSINESS, THE CITY:
>> Approved City Council minutes, April 23, 2019.
>> Approved City Council Workshop minutes, April 23, 2019.
>> Approved City Council Work Session minutes, May 7, 2019.
>> Approved of City Council Workshop minutes, May 7, 2019.
>> Approved the request by Corey and Lavor Polk, owners, for a specific use permit to allow a beauty shop-one chair accessory use in a General Residential (GR) zoning district on Lot 10, Block 4, Patterson Subdivision (513 Fitch Ave.) (Ordinance – Second and Final Approval).
>> Approved accepting funds for the City of Odessa Police Department from the 2019 HIDTA Grant Award in the amount of $29,300.
>> Approved authorizing OPD to apply for and accept, $150,000, as additional revenue; amending the fiscal budget to appropriate awarded funds and authorizing the expenditure of awarded grant funds from the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program (Resolution).
>> Approved a resolution authorizing OPD to apply for and accept $49,730, as additional revenue; amending the fiscal budget to include and appropriate these awarded funds, and authorizing the expenditure of awarded grant funds from the Bureau of Justice, Bulletproof Vest Grant, FY2019, as well as committing to a cash match (Resolution).
>> Approved purchase of stripe truck for the Traffic Department from Rush Truck Center for $394,689.