Odessa Mayor Reflects on Time in Office, Steps Down Tuesday

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - It's the end of an era for the city of Odessa. After more than a decade, Larry Melton will step down as the city's longest serving Mayor and a new leader will take the reins.

For the last 11 years, Mayor Larry Melton has dedicated his time to the city he loves.

But come Tuesday night, Melton will be hanging up his hat as Odessa Mayor for good.

"We have mixed emotions," Melton said. "My wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed serving. We think we have been a part of some good things for Odessa."

NewsWest 9 caught up with Melton while he was busy preparing his 864th speech since taking office. He's the longest serving Mayor in Odessa's history.

Melton was sworn in after the death of then-mayor Billy Hext.

"I stepped into his shoes and I had no intention of staying as long as I did," Melton said.

He said his time in office was filled with many highs. One of his prouder moments was being able to work a change in the contract with the Colorado River Municipal Water District.

"We can look for our own water," Melton said. "We're not totally dependent on an outside source any more. We'd been operating under the same contract for 60 years now. That's a major accomplishment for the future of Odessa."

But there were also some lows for the city leader.

"I think the worst night I ever spent in my life was the night we had our three police officers murdered," Melton said. "We went to that area and to watch the efforts of the other first responders trying to get their peers out was very heartbreaking."

Melton said his favorite part as Mayor was representing the community.

"Doing things with every segment of the community," he said. "We've attended, I can't tell you how many different functions."

It's something he'll miss but now he'll focus on family, his job. He said he'll be around to offer Mayor-Elect David Turner any advice he needs.