A Panhandle town is prospering, as agriculture and oil and gas operations continue to create employment opportunities and economic growth.
Perryton has seen its sales tax receipts increase by over 40%. According to the Perryton Community Development Corporation, thereâ??s not one vacancy on Main Street, and the oil and gas boom along with the arrival of wind farms to the area is expected to keep the good times going.
Perryton and the surrounding areas of Ochiltree County are in the middle of an energy boom with oil and gas and now wind farms, and this is helping pick up the slack from agriculture has been negatively affected by the drought.
â??The oil and gas industry has been able to step up and offset that and now the wind energy is just another component, and it doesnâ??t seem like we ever have a shortage of wind in this area,â?? said Brady Yeary, President of First Bank Southwest of Perryton.
The city of Perryton which is known as the wheatheart of the country is becoming an increasingly diversified economy. â??Weâ??ve been blessed with a lot of things that have impacted our economy over the years and having an oil and gas boom that helps,â?? said Sheryl Hardy, the Executive Director of the Perryton Community Development Corporation. â??With the transmission lines going in to accommodate the growth in wind energy, that has been tremendous.â??
The government is helping bring wind farms are coming to the area. Ochiltree County Judge Earl Mckinley helped lure a $300 million dollar project for a Nexstar energy wind farm through a seven year tax abatement, which will produce a large revenue stream for the tax base.
â??After seven years, they come in in a full value and at a 300 million dollar valuation, that will be a sizeable tax increase for Ochiltree County,â?? said Judge Earl Mckinley
Nevertheless, there some clouds on the horizon. Oil prices could go down and disrupt the boom, and wind energy faces an uncertain climate, due to partisan battles in Washington, and the endangered Lesser Prairie Chicken, which may put the brakes on wind development.
â??Weâ??re probably going to see a slowdown at least for the interim because weâ??ve got the Lesser Prairie Chicken question, and weâ??ve got the production tax credit which congress is probably not going to even vote on until the next election,â?? said Steve Myers of Class 4 Winds and Renewables.
The boom in Perryton may last for some time, considering the federal government is looking to reduce carbon emissions, and wind energy is a viable alternative energy. Also global oil insecurity due to political instability around the world is likely to sustain oil prices in the near future, and high prices fuel the Panhandle economy.