Shelby County economy in trouble after oilfield business comes to a halt

Shelby County economy in trouble after oilfield business comes to a halt

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Oil and gas is a huge contributor to the East Texas economy, and one county even built several businesses just to accommodate the oilfield boom.  A year later those same businesses are at a standstill. Shelby County's gas has reached $1.92 per gallon, and while consumers are pleased by recent relief at the pump, the economy is taking a fall .

Best Western, along with five other hotels, was built during the oilfield boom in Shelby county a few years ago.

"Oil and gas is the backbone of this region," said Casey Davis, the manager at Best Western.

Davis said the Best Western rarely had vacancies.  Oilfield employees left boot prints through the lobby for weeks at a time.

"My hotel did very well last year," Davis said.

Now the parking lot that was filled with oilfield guests just last year is empty.

"There's no one at the hotels, and the restaurants are empty," said Allison Harbison, the Shelby County judge.

This is a steady decline in overall business that Harbison has seen since oil prices have gone down.

"Though gas is down, they are sure not spending what they have left in Shelby County," Harbison said.

She says the past two years while frac, pipeline, and other oil related companies visited the county, the county clerks office brought in over a million dollars.

"We miss that money," Harbison said.

Harbison said around $750,000 extra went into general funds beginning in 2007. The funds have come to a sudden halt.

"It just has the trickle down effect," Harbison said.

She still hopes that business in Shelby county will be booming again in the near future.

Harbison says money that went to the general funds account in Shelby County during the oilfield boom last year has now decreased by $80,000.

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