SPEARMAN
ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT
PLAN

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Faced with the challenges of a changing economy, Spearman community leaders believe that a coordinated approach to improving the local economy is needed.  To improve the economy through a coordinated approach, the City staff has developed this Economic Development Plan.  The goals of this plan are as follows:

  •   To establish a formal channel of cooperation between the business community and the city government to find creative solutions to problems, offer technical assistance, and provide information.
  •  To improve business practices within Spearman in order to encourage residents to shop Spearman first.
  •  To increase the number of dollars being in Spearman through an active tourism program.
  •  To attract new businesses to Spearman through a positive business climate and quick responses to requests for information.


Implementation of the strategies in this report lies with the Spearman Economic Development Corporation, the City of Spearman and the Spearman Chamber of Commerce.
 

STRATEGIC APPROACH

DEFINITION OF PURPOSE

The Economic Development Plan is a comprehensive policy statement that summarizes the major economic issues affecting Spearman; establishes the community's goals for employment expansion, community development and economic strength; and identifies the means by which Spearman can actively reach these goals.

This plan will function as:
A. Spearmanís official statement of economic development policy relating to all proposals for State and Federal programs for economic development assistance;
  B. A guide to the actions of the Economic Development Corporation in working with prospective businesses and in reviewing development proposals;
C. A statement of economic development programming aims, determining funding, staffing and implementation schedules by the following priority;
 1. New Business Development and Attraction,
 2. Existing Business Development,
 3. Improve the Business Climate Through Active Tourism Promotion.

Within these program areas, resources should be allocated in assisting companies that will:

 Minimize temporary dislocation in the Spearman economy
Have minimal impact upon the natural environment and improve the quality of life
Expand and diversify the local economy
Provide jobs for Spearman residents that are stable, secure and afford upward mobility
Improve the city infrastructure and services which enhance Spearmanís economy

D. A framework from which detailed work plans can be developed that address economic opportunities in, and program needs of, specific areas within Spearman that are critical to economic development.
E. A statement to the private sector indicating the community's goals and direction in economic development, aiding the private sector in their planning efforts and enlisting their support and cooperation.
F. A definition of the City's role in economic development.
 

EXISTING CONDITIONS

To outline a rational course for future economic development planning, an overview of current
economic conditions and the practice of economic development in Spearman to date is
necessary.  A brief summary of the economic considerations that are the impetus for this 
strategy are presented below, followed by a discussion of the economic development process in 
Spearman, its participants and programs.

THE ECONOMY

Spearmanís economy is built around the petroleum and agriculture industries.  Local government, primarily the Hospital District and the Spearman Independent School District, is also a major employer in the area.  During the mid-to-late 1980ís, Spearman experienced a decline in the local economy due to the declining oil and gas business.  Some of the City's largest employers, such as Baker & Taylor Drilling Company, began laying off employees as a result of the oil bust.  With the decline in the oil and gas businesses, Spearman began to lose population.  By the middle 90ís an influx of confined animal feeding operations, primarily pork production, impacted the economy in a positive way.  Sales tax has seen a steady increase in recent years.  The following chart summarizes Spearman and Hansford County's population trends:
 
 

 1970 population Spearman 3,435 Hansford County 6,361
 1980 population Spearman 3,413 Hansford County 6,209
 1990 population Spearman 3,197 Hansford County 5,848
 2000 population Spearman 3,021 Hansford County 5,369

As the Chart illustrates, while Spearman had a slight decrease between 1990 and 2000, the county population decreased more dramatically.  This seemed to be an area wide trend for the Texas Panhandle as most small towns lost population at a rate less than the rural areas surrounding the towns.  The areas trend toward population loss is a great concern as luring new industries and business must be imported from further distances, as the entire area appears to be experienced very little growth.
Without a concerted effort to improve the economy, Spearman will find itself in an economic slump and will be subject to the economic whims of the region and of the nation as a whole.

Economists generally agree that small businesses (those employing less than 50 persons) are the largest provider of new jobs and product innovation to the local economy.  Emphasis must be placed in the area of business formation and expansion to ensure continued growth and job expansion.  Every effort must be made to create a financial, regulatory, and physical environ-ment in Spearman that provides a positive climate for start-ups and promotes a positive business image for growth companies.

In order for local businesses to grow, and to attract new businesses, the economic development efforts should be geared towards helping our local businesses provide goods and services that Spearman residents want at a price that Spearman residents are willing to pay.  The economic development efforts should also be geared towards promoting Spearman as a good place to do business in order to attract new businesses.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN SPEARMAN

The economic developments in Spearman have been sporadic and uncoordinated.  The City of Spearman, the Spearman Chamber of Commerce and various Spearman residents have played roles in economic development.

The City keeps a record of grant funds and other programs which are targeted towards economic development.  In addition, the City has committed to try and secure grant funds for eligible development projects.  The City also conducted an economic development base analysis for the Texas Department of Commerce.  This base analysis was reviewed by TDOC with TDOC providing advice and comments on how Spearman can attract new businesses.  The TDOC comments are included at the end of this strategy.

Over the years, the Chamber of Commerce has been active in representing and promoting the business community's needs in a variety of ways. Each year, the Chamber is involved in events such as Heritage Days, Zulu Trading Post Days, July 4th at Lake Palo Duro, SWPWA promotion, and other tourism efforts to encourage visits to our community and local businesses. Other efforts include education and understanding of the local economic climate by providing community development workshops, seminars, programs, and local weekly radio broadcasts. The Chamber of Commerce has designated itself as the "front door" of Spearman, and strives to provide a positive and progressive image through a continually updated and comprehensive web site, along with a willingness to provide tours, information packets, or anything else that might encourage re-location of new businesses or citizens. The Chamber of Commerce is ready to participate and work closely with any strategic plan that might further enhance the growth of Spearman and will stand ready to be actively involved with any group or organization that has this same goal at heart.

Various businesses, such as the financial institutions in Spearman, have been active in economic development through contacts with private businesses.

In summary, Spearman has undertaken economic development activities although there has been no economic development plan or coordinated strategy.  It is important that there be cooperation on the part of both the private and public sector to work toward the same goals and avoid duplication of efforts.

In November 1995 the voters of Spearman approved the ½ cent sales tax for economic development.  This sales tax (also known as a 4B sales tax) raises about $75,000 - $80,000 per year for economic development.  A Spearman Economic Development Corporation has been formed to administer the tax, in accordance with State law and City Council direction.

ACTIVITIES, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The following goals and objectives should be followed when implementing this plan.  To a certain extent, the goals and objectives must be undertaken simultaneously.

COORDINATION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

Goal:  To establish a formal channel of cooperation between the business community and the city government to find creative solutions to problems, offer technical assistance, and provide information.

Objective 1: The City  should coordinate grant applications with the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission and private businesses to expedite grant applications.
Objective 2: The Chamber should keep the Economic Development Corporation informed about prospective businesses for Spearman.
Objective 3: The Chamber and the City should keep the economic development brochure updated periodically.

EXISTING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Goal:  To improve business practices within Spearman in order to encourage residents to shop Spearman first.

Objective 1: The City,Chamber, and Economic Development Corporation should work with existing businesses to improve customer relations between local businesses and citizens.
Objective 2: The City, Chamber and Economic Development Corporation should provide awards to local businesses which exhibit excellent customer service.
Objective 3: The Chamber and Economic Development Corporation should help the businesses look for ways to capture the imagination of Spearman shoppers. 
Objective 4: The City, the Chamber and the businesses along Main Street should develop a Main Street Improvement Plan in order to improve the appearance and convenience of shopping downtown.
Objective 5: The Economic Development Corporation should fund revolving loan accounts with local financial institutions to provide low interest funds to businesses located within the city limits wanting to expand.
Objective 6: The Economic Development Corporation should provide direct grants to businesses located within the city limits to assist in property acquisition or equipment acquisition.

TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

Goal: To increase the number of dollars being spent in Spearman through an active tourism program.

Objective 1: The Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber should work together to promote local events and celebrations on a regional basis.
Objective 2: The Chamber and the Palo Duro River Authority should work together to promote Palo Duro Lake as a weekend destination for persons within a 150 mile radius of Spearman.
Objective 3: The Chamber should make sure that local events are included in the activities schedule of Texas Highways magazine.
 

NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Goal: To attract new businesses to Spearman through a positive business climate and quick responses to requests for information.

Objective 1: The Economic Development Corporation should pay the membership fee for the  High Ground of Texas.
Objective 2: The Economic Development Corporation should consider utilizing the following principles of a marketing program:

Research will be conducted on the community's strengths and weaknesses in regard to economic development.  Look for recommendations from TDOC.
Marketing activities will be used which reflect consistent overall themes or basic messages about the community; too many messages tend to confuse the audience.
 Marketing activities will be geared to the target industries identified in this plan.
 Marketing materials will be factual in nature and provide information that is clearly relevant to business decision making; generalities have little impact on business location and investment decisions.
 Because the economic identity of a smaller community is usually judged in a larger regional context, the advantages of the surrounding area will be emphasized in the community's marketing materials.
 Quality will be more important than quantity.  The Economic Development Corporation will produce high quality marketing tools (brochures, community profiles, special events, etc.)  The EDC will make sure that the proper mix of marketing activities (public relations, advertising, direct mail, data packages, prospect presentations, special event) are created.
 Testimonials from businesses currently located in the community will be used to help attract new businesses.
 Marketing activities will be conducted consistently over a long period of time to produce acceptable results; the EDC will not rely on one-shot efforts.
 Results of the marketing program will be reviewed annually by the Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce and the City Council to allow for any necessary adjustments to activities in the future.

Objective 3: The Chamber should retain a data base of information (such as traffic counts, building values, labor rates, etc.) that can be readily accessed for potential business prospects through the Spearman Connection.
Objective 4: The Economic Development Corporation should consider attending trade fairs and other recruiting trips with the High Ground of Texas to increase awareness of Spearman.
Objective 5: The Economic Development Corporation should target the following industries in their promotion efforts:

 Agricultural Services
 Food and Kindred Products
Leather and Leather Products
 Miscellaneous Manufacturing Industries
 Oil & Gas Exploration
 General Merchandise Stores 
 Miscellaneous Retail
 Personal Services
 Business Services
 Miscellaneous Repair Services
 Miscellaneous Services

A more detailed list, along with their Standard Classification Code, is contained in Appendix A.

 Objective 6: The Economic Development Corporation should establish a revolving loan fund with local financial institutions to assist in the relocation or start-up of businesses located within the city limits.
 Objective 7: The City should consider adopting the following economic development tools:

 Tax Abatement
 Community Promotion 
 Funds to Finance Public Projects
Governmental Grant Programs
 Updating the Zoning Ordinance and related ordinances
 Annexation of property adjacent to the City
 Active Code Enforcement
 Historic Preservation Ordinance
 Lease of Citywide Properties to Private Users

SUMMARY

If Spearman is to grow and prosper, community leaders are going to have to take a proactive approach to economic development.  Long gone are the days when communities could sit back and hope that new businesses come to town.  Too many other cities are actively working to attract business through tax incentives, reduction of operational expenses and public/private partnerships.  Because it lacks a major highway and is not located near an urban center, Spearman has distinct disadvantages when competing against other cities.  Quality of life issues become very important factors in recruiting and growing business.  In order for Spearman to compete successfully, it must work harder than other communities to attract businesses and keep existing businesses and it must have a coordinated effort.  This strategy is intended to bring about that coordination of efforts.

BUSINESSES TO ATTRACT

SIC Code    Short Title  Examples

Agriculture Services 
Soil Preparation Services
    Crop Services 
    Animal Services, except veterinary
         Animal shelters/boarding
         Animal breeding
         Cattle spraying
         Pedigree record services for 
            livestock, pets
         Vaccination services
         Training of pets & other animals
    Farm Labor and Management Services
    Landscape and Horticultural Services

Food and Kindred Products
    Meat Products
    Dairy Products
    Preserved Fruits and Vegetables
    Grain Mill Products
    Bakery Products
    Fats and Oils
    Misc. Food and Kindred Products
         Potato chips and similar snacks

Leather and Leather Products
    Leather Tanning and Finishing
    Footwear Cut Stock
    Footwear, Except Rubber
    Leather Gloves and Mittens
    Luggage
    Handbags and Personal Leather Goods
    Other Leather Goods

Oil and Gas Exploration

 
Miscellaneous Manufacturing 
Industries   Jewelry, Silverware & Plated Ware
    Musical Instruments
    Toys and Sporting Goods
    Costume Jewelry and Notions
    Miscellaneous
         Hard surface floor coverings
         Brooms and brushes
         Signs & advertising specialties
         Burial caskets

Retail Trade 
    General Merchandise Stores
    Variety Stores
    Other Miscellaneous Retail Stores
 

Personal Services 
    Photographic Studies

Business Services
    Advertising Agencies
    Credit Reporting and Collection
    Mailing, Reproduction and Stenographic
    Pest Control Services
    Misc. Equipment Rental and Leasing
         Medical equipment rental
         Equipment rental 
    Personnel Supply
         Temporary employment agency
    Computer and Data Processing Services

Social Services
    Job Training and Related Services
    Child Day Care Services
    Residential Care