City moves forward to publish $93 million debt intention

ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) The Odessa City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday evening to publish its intention to issue debt for several capital improvement projects.

The council intends to issue $93 million additional debt in the form of a certificate of obligation.

The first step of the process is posting a notice for two consecutive weeks at least 31 days before the certificate is authorized. The Mayor of Odessa, David Turner, said the first notice will be posted on Friday.

The public can protest the debt intention by submitting a petition signed by 5 percent of registered voters in Odessa.

Mayor Turner said two public meetings will be held in the next several weeks to explain the council’s intention to community members, and allow for their input.

The council is expected to vote on the certificates in the fall.

Several community members voiced their opinions about the council’s announcement posturing to take on additional debt.

“And $93 million is a ton of money. That’s not a little bit. That’s not, ‘we need to fix something,’ that’s ‘we have a plan for something’,” he said.

Another community member, Kris Crow, posed two questions to the council during the meeting. Crow told the council they should educate their constituents, and perhaps allow community members to vote on the projects themselves through a bond election.

“One, are you responding to a disaster? Two, are you circumventing your duty as an elected official of the districts you represent to educate the voters, to communicate to the voters, and to represent their desire in your actions?” he said.

Mayor Turner said the money is vital to the community. The mayor said it would be used to build a new fire station and repair other fire stations.

“Right now, we run more fire runs than the city of Lubbock. They’re twice our size, they have 16 stations, we have eight fire stations. We’re wearing out people and our equipment out. We need another fire station. We’ve got a fire station that’s in dire need of repair,” he said.

Turner said the money would also be used to build an animal shelter, finish a multi-purpose building for the Odessa Police Department, add city employee office space, re-vamp parks and potentially build parks in east Odessa, and more than $40 million will be put toward road improvements.

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of roads that have been overlaid too many times. And it is going to take a total re-construct of some roads. We have seen a dramatic, 20 to 40 percent increase in paving cost,” Mayor Turner said.

The city manager of Odessa, Michael Marrero, said the city has a roughly 600 general obligation debt per capita right now. Mayor Turner said communities generally have around 1,000.