By: Sarah Snyder
PECOS - 2009 wasn't necessarily an easy year for some of our West Texas cities. Budget cuts and freezes were a common tale and the City of Pecos was no exception. But as the new year roles in, a flurry of change is sweeping through town.
Mayor Alligood tells NewsWest 9 the problems really started in late 2008 and the early part of this year. The City was forced to put a hold on equipment purchases, cut out conferences, and freeze raises.
"It was not received well, but our staff understood and all of our City personnel understood the situation and worked with us on it," Pecos Mayor Richard Alligood, said.
One of the most painful city-wide cuts was at the Senior Center.
"That affected us tremendously - not being able to go to work on that piece of property when we wanted to," Mayor Alligood said.
During the past year, Pecos built quite a few new hotels who still aren't doing well. Hotel owners say they just don't having enough customers and that makes it hard to meet their tax requirements. But now as the end of the year draws near, folks in Pecos got an early present a 10% increase in sales tax revenue.
"That is something we've all been waiting on to come back around," Mayor Alligood said. "It has been down considerably and thank goodness with the planning that was done, we were able to survive when the sales tax was down quite a bit less."
And another bright spot sits just off the Interstate. Trans Pecos Foods, one of the biggest employers in Reeves County, is gearing up for an expansion. This facility is known for producing foods you might find on your holiday plate.
"Because of our growth within the company, we expect our business to grow about 10-12% next year," Tom Keim, President of Trans Pecos Foods, said. "2010 is going to be a banner year for us. Our growth is going to be substantial."
Pecos City officials say their financial situation may even turn around as early as the first quarter of 2010. At that point, they'll go back and review all the projects they deferred and hopefully bring them back to the table.