An oil boom in our own back yard is showing promise for local business owners. In recent months, drilling has picked up in parts of the Brazos Valley, and with that local sales tax revenue is on the rise.
One could say times are good again in Madison County. Signs of a booming oil and gas industry are all around. Madisonville business owners are capitalizing on the new workers moving to town, hoping they will win over new customers.
"Very excited. We like seeing new people and new faces," said Noella Smith, Co-owner of Walkers Cafe. The cafe is even marketing directly to oil workers and their companies by putting a large sign up outside reading, "Oil Field, Do you need lunch boxes?"
"We've had several big companies come to us and you know they love our food and they want to get food for all of their employees," said Smith.
In the first quarter of 2012, Madison County saw a 41% increase in sales tax revenue over the same period last year.
"It's hard to find a parking place around here or around town and that's good," said County Judge Art Henson. However, Henson warns history will certainly repeat itself.
"It will level off and it will go down hill."
Henson says for now the increased sales revenue is saving citizens from an increase in taxes. For Smith, it's a promise she will be able to put more food on the table for her customers and her family.
Sales tax revenues are also showing an increase in surrounding counties where oil drilling is taking place. The latest numbers available from the state comptrollers office are from the 3rd quarter of 2011. Those numbers show an increase of 3.58 % in Leon County and an increase of 12.78% in Robertson County.