All City of Odessa employees to receive $1.5K bonus

Published: Jul. 14, 2023 at 5:38 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - City of Odessa employees will see a boost in their next paycheck following a city council decision this week.

After an unexpected surplus in sales tax revenue, the city will give $1,500 to each employee. Lakeisa Taylor is one of Odessa’s nearly 900 employees who will receive a bonus next week.

“I believe that it’s a blessing that the city is using it to kind of bless their employees, so that it shows, like I said, that they appreciate us,” Taylor said.

The bonuses total about $1.5 million in pay outs.

“It’s a boost for going back to school, for summer preparation going back to school, or for vacation. Whatever is their need,” Odessa Mayor Javier Joven said.

That’s what Taylor will use her bonus for. She’ll help her grandchild buy school clothes and save the rest for things she needs around the house, she said.

The Odessa City Council approved the bonuses after the city generated $9 million more in sales tax revenue than they projected. They’re giving a bonus to employees to boost retention and show appreciation.

“It is [a] dire need for us to retain our employees and to recruit, and to also fill the many positions that we still have open,” Joven said.

The city hopes it also builds a positive narrative around working for the city, Joven said.

“This is a good recruitment tool, that you have a community that’s investing in their public servants,” Joven said.

Joven says this is a token of what’s to come. The city hopes to make a cost of living adjustment for all employees between this budget and the next one.

Joven addressed criticisms about the use of the money. He said this is a necessary part of improving and continuing quality city services by helping its employees combat inflationary costs.

The city will begin its overall budgeting process in early August. Joven says that’s when the council will decide how to use the rest of the sales tax revenue surplus.