Nearly, the first order of business was to remove a request from Planning and Zoning for a zone change pending a public hearing on the matter.
In the Mayor’s report was announcement of various items including recognition awards and the resignation of City Clerk Marcella McCoy.
The aldermen reports iterated Mayor Couch’s gratitude for the departing City Clerk.
The ordinance approving the budget for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016 was passed 5-1 with Alderman Stevens dissenting. Comments were made by Alderman Bellington about equipment purchased that may not be covered under warranty after the first use.
New business covered was extensive with several resolutions, motions and discussions.
The board approved suggested street closures for a 5K scheduled for October 17 as well as street closures for Halloween and Christmas activities.
The VFW requested the use of the Railroad Park for an upcoming car wash accepting donations for buddy poppies. The board suggested the front of the Police Department for use.
Jennifer LeBlanc took an oath of office for City Collector for a term ending April 2016.
A presentation by the Economic Development Council by a task force investigating possible uses of the abandoned PD/EMS building was extensive. Ryan Watkins with the group Downtown Odessa was introduced by the EDC Chairman. He was part of a task force involving various city interests which met to bring ideas to the Aldermen Board for use of the building. Four primary options were presented with the various impacts they would have in terms of city benefit and cost.
1) Return use of the building to the PD and EMS. This would require great cost in refurbishment and include an issue of limited space for proper utilization of PD assets.
2) Sell the building and land. This idea would involve the loss of the property making it outside city control.
3) Demolish the building and maintain the land.
4) Convert it into a community pavilion. This entails removal of the inner contents of the building as well as the walls.
The fourth option was considered by the task group to be the best and most viable option for the city and was recommended by the EDC. The frame of the building would remain around which would be built a structure reminiscent of a park shelter house. A low-end, rough, cost estimate was stated to be between $18,000 and $38,000 with an additional $20,000 as a higher-end estimate.
The presentation was purely informative with plenty of information for the board to digest. No official action was taken.
Another informative discussion was taken up regarding a contract with Larkin Lamp Rynearson for the repair of the spillway at the Odessa Lake. A recent inspection by the Department of Natural Resources recommended additional repairs which would require further city funding. The contractor had been scheduled to make the repairs this summer, but unable to accomplish those repairs due to the constant rainfall. Furthermore, additional damage was blamed on those rains. An estimated $30,000 to $40,000 in additional costs was presented to combine with the expense of the current contract.
A further issue caused by excessive rain was brought before the board as a motion to repair a city pipe running under a homeowner’s yard. A hole opening up where the pipe collapsed in a property at 701 South Connor was considered a liability which needed to be dealt with. The motion, however, only dealt with the purchase of the pipe. The acquiring of Emergency Federal and State aid is still pending an uncertain at this time. Dissent from Alderman Stevens centered on the question of the culvert on McDowell Street which repair is also outstanding and also awaiting Federal and State funding aid. Ary countered the cost of the McDowell project would be presently prohibitive and was contained in a future budget.