ECTOR COUNTY, Texas — History was made Tuesday night at Odessa College regarding Ector County and the City of Odessa.
For the first time ever, the Odessa City Council, Ector County Commissioners’ Court and Odessa Development Corporation, or ODC, held a joint workshop together.
The discussions were very positive as the county and city discussed how they can better work together to ultimately improve the community.
Several topics discussed were outdated interlocal agreements about Odessa Fire Rescue, the Ector County Jail and Animal Shelter, as well as sales tax revenue produced by the Ector County Assistance District.
“We’re going to work together, and we’re going to work on behalf of the citizens," said Ector County Judge Dustin Fawcett. "It’s not going to be about egos. It’s not going to be about personalities. It’s going to be about the mission, and the mission is to better serve the constituents of the City of Odessa and Ector County.”
Ector County Commissioners, Odessa City Council members and representatives from the ODC came together Tuesday night to begin discussions on how to better the community as one collective government.
“It was a positive thing for the community," said Fawcett. "To create this open dialogue among the three entities with the focus on how do we push this community forward in a positive direction through opening those lines of communication, addressing some interlocal agreements and also talking about economic development which really brings economic flourishing to our community.”
The first item discussed was about potentially splitting sales tax revenue from the Ector County Assistance District 50-50, so that the City of Odessa can benefit as well for further development.
“Because we want our city to grow," said Fawcett. "We want houses to be built. We want commercial businesses to be built. We want to have better services. We want more Walmart's or H-E-B’s, small businesses, all these different things. We want our community to grow and develop, and as it sits now, the current parameters do not allow for us to develop.”
The potential for emergency service districts was also mentioned in regard to improving county-wide fire rescue and emergency medical service.
Much of Tuesday night was about more financial equity between city and county, with getting on the same page being key for development to commit to the area.
“We certainly need to be on the same page," said Fawcett. Taxpayers expect that their government entities are all working together, and we want to show them, and we actually want to apply what they assume is already happening, and really take care of the residents and take care of the people’s business together.”
No action was taken Tuesday night as the workshop was simply about starting discussions and gathering further data moving forward.
ODC acted more as a mediator while mostly listening to the conversations that were had, conversations that will likely impact the work that they do.
Fawcett said that this will certainly not be the last time they hold a meeting like this, with the plan to at least have them quarterly.