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:
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:
Within these program areas, resources should be allocated in assisting companies that will:
Minimize temporary dislocation in the Spearman 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.
To outline a rational course for future economic development
planning, an overview of current
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
1970 population Spearman 3,435 Hansford County 6,361
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Research will be conducted on the community's strengths
and weaknesses in regard to economic development. Look for recommendations
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
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
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
Food and Kindred Products
Leather and Leather Products
Oil and Gas Exploration