Local Town Holding Its Own, Amid a Slow Job Market and Lay Offs

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

KERMIT--Long time Kermit residents have seen their share of economic ups and downs.  But they say, this one in particular is nothing like those in years past.

"We still don't have an overage of empty houses like I've seen in past times when we've been in an economic slump.  Again, we're holding our own for right now," Winkler County Judge Bonnie Leck, said.

Leck says the atmosphere is positive about not only the present of Winkler County, but also the future, "We've got 2 or 3 new businesses on our main street in Kermit now. Winkler County is in a good position to face toward the future."

The recent completion of the new Winkler County Memorial Hospital, will not only improve patient care, it will keep money in the area.  "We're able to take care of our patients like we really need to. It's a long way to Odessa or Midland from here and that first hour is very very important," Asst. Hospital Administrator Keith Palmer explained.

Palmer says it will also keep people working, "We have no plans to cut back.  We're looking forward to taking care of every patient."

Along with the new businesses, Kermit still depends a lot on the established ones, like the only grocery and furniture stores in town. Both are still going strong.

"We are so thankful for our return business.  I think that's a lot of what's kept us afloat.  We've been very, very blessed," McKay's Furniture Manager Alline Hicks, said.

Even though there is doubt about oil and gas, Judge Leck says the over all outlook in Kermit and Winkler County couldn't be more positive, "Most of us have seen at least 2 or 3 booms and busts in our lifetime, so it's not anything new. I think people are resilient here and are hard working.  We're trying to plan ahead, so I feel fairly confident about the future."