The Ector County Utility District (ECUD) which supplies water to West Odessa, has announced that the ECUD Board of Directors are hosting a special meeting Saturday, 9/24/22, at noon at the District office located at 1039 N. Moss.
First on the agenda is the proposed tax rate for Operations and Maintenance (O&M). The O&M tax is an ad valorem tax where the tax is based upon the appraised value of your property. The public meeting is for the Board to hear comments from District taxpayers.
While there is no increase in the District’s tax rate from last year, the appraised value of properties in the District has increased to over $1.1 billion; therefore, most taxpayers will see an increase in their ECUD taxes.
The second item on the agenda states the Board will go into Executive Session for private consultation with their attorney to discuss threatened litigation. There are limited circumstances a Board may go into Executive Session. These sessions are ‘private’ and do not include the public and do not allow for the public to learn what was discussed. Texas Government Code Chapter 5 Section 551.071 states, “A governmental body may not conduct a private consultation with its attorney except: (1) when the governmental body seeks the advice of its attorney about:(A) pending or contemplated litigation; or(B) a settlement offer”.
West Odessa resident and ECUD customer Jesse Christesson first challenged the candidacy qualifications of an applicant for the Board of Directors election on August 24, 2002. After his initial claim was rebuffed, Mr. Christesson filed an additional challenge through an attorney that the incorrect seats and board members were posted for election. According to documents provided by Mr. Christesson, precedent set in 2000 shows that Will Kappauf and Troy Walker, the two newest Directors who are pushing for ECUD reform, should not both be on the ballot in November. Christesson further states that there appear to be inconsistencies in the ECUD voter role. Christesson states , “I want to help the ECUD customers and taxpayers ensure that we are getting fair and legal representation on the ECUD Board of Directors. The more we look into this, the more issues we find, and I remain convinced that things are not right or lawful at ECUD with this election.”
Board members Kappauf and Walker had demanded that Mr. Christesson’s challenge be placed on the agenda at the last regular Board meeting held August 14, 2022 but Board President Tommy Ervin refused their demands and instead Mr. Ervin has placed it on Saturday’s tax rate meeting.
Odessa Headlines will continue to update this story as information becomes available.