Hobbs Booms as Oil Prices Climb

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - The southeastern New Mexico oilpatch city of Hobbs is thriving as oil prices soar.  Subdivisions are going up and six multistory hotels are under construction.

City Hall moved into an empty bank building, spruced up by an 8 million dollar renovation.  Trees grow along bustling streets as part of a beautification project.  Municipal gross-receipts taxes have doubled since 2001, surpassing 36 million dollars during the past fiscal year.

But it's not strictly skyrocketing gasoline prices that are helping Hobbs.  A 1.5 billion dollar uranium enrichment factory is being built 20 miles south of Hobbs.  And an electrical power plant is going up west of Hobbs, bolstering the town's reputation as a burgeoning energy center.