City and county form committee to figure out what to do with the Ector County Courthouse

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ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) - Once again, replacing the Ector County Courthouse was up discussion, this time with the city and county together at the table

For the first time in a year, members of the Odessa City Council and Ector County commissioners met for a joint meeting hoping to make progress on several projects.

There’s just one problem.

When it comes to the courthouse, right now there’s no consensus on what progress should look like in the future.

CBS7 previously reported the courthouse has deteriorating pipes, restrooms and ceilings.

However, Judge Debi Hays said in the meeting that a new courthouse isn’t a priority for residents.

“So, how in the world could anyone in their right mind think that we could put a courthouse number one?” she asked the group. “I’m just not that selfish.”

Hays told CBS7 exactly a year ago when she was sworn in that replacing the courthouse was one of her goals, but Tuesday she pointed to other more immediate county problems to focus on.

“They have needs, not wants. They need a road fixed. They need. They need law enforcement to be more present. West Odessa needs water. I mean they need to be able to live and survive.”

Commissioners and council members agreed to form a committee to look into the courthouse’s issues and weigh all their options before meeting to talk again.

The problem with that, pointed out by Councilman Malcolm Hamilton, is there’s no endgame in sight.

“I’d like to scratch off a bucket list as we go to getting this stuff done is what I’m saying,” Hamilton said at the meeting. “I’m not saying we can’t get it done, but it seems like we’ve been here before. Right, Dewey? We’ve talked about this before, but nothing has moved forward.”

He said after the meeting the key to moving forward after all these years of indecision is pretty simple.

“I want some deadlines and some things basically so we can see the progression,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t get to see the progression because there’s so many meetings you necessarily know what you got accomplished. You just know you got something accomplished.”

We asked Odessa Mayor David Turner why no one’s been able to make a decision on the courthouse yet and he says it’s a huge project that needs to be carefully considered whether that means keeping it downtown or making one in the county.

“We would prefer it to be downtown because I believe it’s a key part of a vital downtown but that’s not our decision,” Turner said. “That’s the county’s decision.”

The courthouse committee made up of three commissioners and three city council members will meet again in about two weeks.