The Odessa Record -

Town Council

Council faces thorny issues requiring more study


September 6, 2018

The town council met August 27 in the public library to hear from Steve Nelson of Century West Engineering on the status of various projects dealing with streets and water/sewer infrastructure. He said that the town should hear within two weeks about whether the town’s request for a Community Development Block Grant of $750,000 would be met.

Nelson also reported that Phase 1 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s roads project has been completed in Odessa and that Phase 2 will begin soon. Additional water and sewer issues will also be addressed in the fall months.

Nuisance ordinance

The council then took up the issue of nuisance animals and dangerous dogs that had been tabled at the previous council meeting. The issue has taken on additional urgency, since a dog being walked by its owner recently was attacked and seriously injured by another dog that had escaped from its own yard. According to the town’s existing ordinance regarding dogs on the loose, police chief Tom Clark told the council that his office has not yet issued any citations to owners of dogs roaming at large. The current ordinance says that a dog is defined as “dangerous” if it inflicts “severe injury to a person or kills a domestic animal.”

Following a first occurrence, the owner is given a warning and must meet certain criteria to prevent a second. Clark said that dogs running loose often go unreported.

Handicapped issues

Another tabled discussion from the previous meeting involved the problems encountered at Reiman Park in accessing the restrooms used by handicapped individuals in wheelchairs. The pea gravel used as a ground cover around the buildings is softer and more forgiving than turf and its use is mandated to prevent injury in the event of falls. Since the pea gravel also bogs down a wheelchair, the result is a “Catch 22” situation. Installing concrete is therefore not the answer.

There were also plumbing issues involved with the park’s restrooms, said public works director Rod Webster, so a physical reorganization of the play areas and restrooms may be required.

Schafer request

Odessa businessman Jerry Schafer asked the council once again to consider terminating an agreement between himself and the town called a Declaration of Covenants. The agreement came about approximately 20 years ago when the sewer was installed in Odessa and was contingent upon the town annexing undeveloped residential lots owned by Schafer who would then provide additional infrastructure for the lots. Since annexation was never pursued and Schafer has since retired and no longer has a crew working for him, he is requesting that the agreement be rescinded. Council members wanted more time for research and consultation with the town attorney and tabled the request until the Sept. 10 meeting.

Yard cleanups, fire dept.

Town Fire Chief Don Strebeck requested approval for the cleanup of 10 additional yards in Odessa in need of having tall, dried-up weeds removed and billed to the property owner, since any small spark would be capable of igniting the weeds and likely any structures on the lot. This issue also required further study by the council members and will be discussed further at subsequent meetings.

Strebeck reported that there were no major blazes in the immediate Odessa area, although other wildfires in the state and in western Canada created breathing conditions that were either unhealthy or downright hazardous over the past few weeks. Police Chief Clark added that the Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center and the town of Odessa made N95 particulate masks available to Odessa residents with breathing difficulties at no charge.

Public Works

Director Rod Webster reported that insurance will pay for pumps and some other sewer-related equipment destroyed by lightning earlier in the summer.

Three Odessa businesses, Ramm Hardware, Any Occasion Banquet Hall and The Odessa Record, were all moved by the town public works crew to separate water/sewer hookups and a water leak in the area of those three businesses was also repaired. A street light located at the intersection of the alley and Division that was removed while the work was being done will soon be replaced.

The pool has been closed for the season and was being drained and winterized as of the August 27 council meeting. There were no major breakdowns over the summer, only a couple of small pump repairs, so Webster was well pleased with how the swim season went this year.

The town crew members will attend a grinder-pump school lasting a day and a half. Some Odessa sewer-system pumps currently out of service will be repaired as part of the classwork, Webster reported.


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