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Oil that's sparked an economic boom south of San Antonio, but a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio reveals a need for more housing.
It's lunch hour at this hardware store in Cotulla, but no one's on break, they are busy. "The good lord didn't send us rain he sent us oil, that's been a blessing because the oil paid a lot better than the rain," said Chris Meyer, who owns the ACE Hardware store in Cotulla.
The oil and gas boom is bringing more people to South Texas towns like Cotulla, but housing and infrastructure are still far behind. "They're building 50 houses out here and starting a subdivision, that's supposedly going to be 50 houses, but the economics of the area has never justified it," said Meyer.
U.T.S.A. presented results from a study on housing to help developers learn more about the area. "If you want to build a hotel and get financing for 30 years, how long are you going to rent those rooms out?" said Robert McKinley, U.T.S.A.
The study looked at population in a six counties, Dimmit, Frio, La Salle, Maverick, Webb and Zavala. Right now, there's around 356,000 people. By 2025, they expect that number to rise by almost 100,000 people. Researchers say they will need more housing options to support the growth and the key word is affordable.
"I think it's going to continue growing, but I don't think your gonna see the big 400-500 house subdivision in these areas, just because it's very difficult," said Butch Alanis, a developer. U.T.S.A. researchers recommend more single-family homes and apartments be built in larger communities near drilling sites in cities like Cotulla, Laredo, Dilley, and Pearsall researchers say affordable temporary housing like mobile homes are also needed.
For Meyer, he hopes the challenge of developing a rural area won't keep investors away. "I hope more stability, more long term housing, more recreation, more individuals just being here permanently."
Researchers say more than three-quarters of the hotels studied south of San Antonio were 90 percent booked by people planning to stay for 30 or more days.
Posted by: Grace White
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Senate passes budget, deal reached on education
May 25, 2013 22:08 GMT
By CHRIS TOMLINSON Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Senate has passed a budget, lawmakers have reached a deal on public education changes and Gov. Rick Perry will soon receive a bill requiring drug screening for unemployment benefits.
The Texas Legislature worked Saturday to wrap up regular business before the end of the 83rd Legislative session on Monday.
The Senate approved spending $94.6 billion in general revenue, an 8 percent increase in the two-year budget. That's less than the rate of population growth plus inflation.
The top education policy writers also announced an agreement to cut the number of standardized tests needed for high school graduation from 15 to five. They also changed curriculum standards.
The Legislature has also given final approval to a requirement some people must take a drug test for unemployment benefits.
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Eds: With BC-US--Dow Record. Adds photos.
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