Odessa City Council votes to increase water, sewer and solid waste and tax rates

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:57 AM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -

It’s official, tax rates are on the rise in Odessa.

The Odessa City Council decided to raise multiple tax rates: property taxes as well as sewer, solid waste and water rates.

The unanimous vote raises water, sewer and solid waste rates by 2.5%.

The reason? Aging pipelines in serious need of fixing.

“We have clay pipes in the ground, we have the old cement with asbestos wrapped around it and that technology wasn’t designed to be 50 years old,” Mayor David Turner said.

The money will generate $1.3 million to help cover the costs of those repairs.

Higher taxes are never popular, but Turner explained that if they don’t get ahead of this problem now, a lot of money could end up down the drain.

“If we do not replace these lines now, it costs the citizens double when it breaks,” Turner said.

As for property taxes, the city’s assistant city manager of city services said the rate needs to be raised slightly as a counterbalance to declining property evaluations.

“So, any time evaluations go up, the rate goes down,” Cindy Muncy said. “Evaluations go down, the rate goes up to maintain.”

Commercial evaluations dipped this year because when the virus struck, many companies got rid of their inventory.

“They didn’t have as many trucks, they didn’t have as many things in the yard,” Turner said. “So, they sold them off and they’re not there to be taxed.”

The new rate of .4477115 cents per $100 of evaluation won’t make extra revenue for the city but will even out to what they earned in property taxes last year.

The money will be spent on roads and water line repairs.

Those new taxes will go into effect at the start of October.

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