PROBLEMS FACING RURAL COUNTIES
DO YOU RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS AFFECTING YOUR COUNTY?

 

As a State, Texas is currently growing faster than any other state in the nation.  However small rural communities are fast disappearing!  Find out why small rural communities are not gaining.

Texas is enjoying a new growth rate on population far more rapidly than any other state, presently about 5-7% per year.  However that population is not evenly distributed. Neither is the city or county tax base. While Texas is growing in new population overall, the growth rate is mostly limited to several larger major city sites such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso.   While those cities are gaining a new population and tax base, most rural counties are loosing both population and tax base faster than it did in the Great Depression.  The hardest hit are rural North Central and West Texas areas. Based on a State Demographic Study of the 254 total counties in Texas during the year 2000, 89 Texas Counties had a loss rate in both their tax base and population (which always go hand in hand) greater than that of the “Great Depression.”  In ending year 2007 Demographic Study, that figure rose to 127 counties. In the ending year of 2010, that figure rose once again to 135 counties.  Now perhaps you can better understand why your county is loosing both population and its county tax base at an alarming rate.

Using comparing standards of economics of today's earned dollars and cost of living to those same two factors during the 1920's, an alarming fact is most rural cities and towns and West Texas counties today are loosing both its sound financial tax base and population much faster than during the times of the "Great Depression era."  As the state itself is growing, for the most part, the majority of Texas land mass area is loosing!  Loosing their much needed tax base dollars and what is the key indicator "industry", and their needed population to survive and continue.  These two factors, population and tax base, are said to "grow" hand in hand, or they "go" hand in hand! Unfortunately for most rural Texas counties today, they are presently "going".

Rural County Loss ~ recognize the warning signs!

When any small rural county, less than 10,000 population, and more especially less than 5,000 population, start seeing a drop in its city and county population, it also tends to loose a very large majority of total county tax base dollars.  Normally those tax base dollars are tied to the industry within any county. Population and Tax base seem to always be tied together. These tax dollars are what keeps vital services operational inside any city or county. Critical vital services at the top of that list for rural counties which are directly tied to the county tax base, are the county healthcare, the local hospital and often including the local rest home, and the public school system. This tax base for any county is very important for a rural county’s survival. Why?  More often than not, when you see people moving out of a small community, its not because they want to, they are more or less forced to because of the lack of jobs.  A County has to sustain a good job base to keep residents.  It must maintain and sustain Industry.  More often than not, Industry is the largest job base and tax base within the county.  And its very important for any county to remember the rules of economics applied.  You have to have industry come first, not retail.  If you create industry first, retail stores will always follow. Industry will not follow retail. 

 

The one single source regarding loss of population for rural cities and counties is "jobs", or lack of jobs and industry.  When a county starts loosing jobs, that normally means that the jobs, businesses that were once there, have abandoned the community, leaving a void of both jobs and the tax base which they once where supporting or paying to the local authorities to keep vital services in place.  First you see small stores board up the storefronts. Usually mom & pop, local owner stores and services.  Next you see the local healthcare system(s) suffer and needing new additional county tax dollars to stay open, or loose their local hospital, or doctor.  And last be not least is your public school system.  When most local citizens finally start to notice and pay attention to the problem at hand, just now realizing what is happening,  "what I call connect the dots", is when their local school goes from 11-man football down to a 6-man football team.  Then most local citizens finally notice all to well, the slow and steady decline that has been going on for years but has just now registered on them. Where did all our students go? What happened to all our local owned stores?  Why is our local tax rate rising higher and higher each year?  Why is our town, community, and public schools loosing all our young people?

 

 

A Decline in the City/County Tax Base normally indicates a combined loss in Industry and population!  Industry brings in Tax Base, which retains jobs, and keeps the population intact.  You must target Industry for your County to survive!

 

For most Texas counties, the loss of population is the greatest in the age range from 24 to 42 years of age.  That's why most rural community public schools all across North Central and West Texas are getting smaller and smaller each year in student population.  Because these are the age ranges of the younger population, couples with children, needing full-time jobs and a good paycheck. Without the industry your county will lose jobs.  As each job goes, normally that means the industry left first, then the job followed. So not only did the county loose it's younger population it also just lost the industry or tax base that helped support most vital services inside the county. Which also lead to the family moving, which in turn had a house, paid taxes on it, a family that bought local goods and supplies, etc........so the county now is having a domino effect with the repeat of loss in jobs, tax base, loss of tax on the business, loss on the family home when the couple moved, loss of health care, loss of students, and loss of many other community wide issues.  Now that same tax base loss has to be made up from the fewer local citizens remaining within the community or county, either through higher taxes, higher property valuations, or both.

 

Typically what a declining county does gain, is now most of its citizens left behind are over 62 years of age.  Communities of retired individuals and couples.  Many rural counties show a higher countywide age range than that.  With a county population only taking a rise in older citizens, one could only ask yourself this?  If the average citizen is over 60 years of age, and there are no new jobs to support our city/county which will retain or bring in younger residents, where will our county be in 10 years, or 15 years from now?  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, if you as a county citizen, or county leader, set there and do nothing to help find new jobs and bring industry into your community now, in 10-20 more years, your town and community will be a ghost town.  With no changes in regard to gaining new industry, you may end up being the last one left.   As the old saying goes, "Turn the lights off on you way out!" 

 

Maybe a better way would be to let Texas & Midwestern Consultants Company (TCC) help you find answers on how to attract and gain new industry into your community, city, or county.  No community is to small to gain a new industry.  In fact smaller communities have a much better advantage over the larger ones in gaining new industries. You just have to know how to target it, and gain it.  Please read more of our Home page and Links to get a better ideal of how Texas & Midwestern Consultants Company (TCC)  can help you.  Call us today!