“The little town that could” just announced it will soon be adding some 25 new jobs and three new businesses.
It’s the kind of news City Manager Bob Gallagher said would include a press conference complete with the governor in attendance, if it were in Albuquerque or Santa Fe.
“There is no other city in the State of New Mexico announcing today they have 25 new jobs,” Gallagher said at Thursday’s meeting where land sale contracts for two of the businesses were approved. “We didn’t ask for any federal money. We didn’t ask for any state money. We didn’t ask for any county money. We rolled up our sleeves and did it the old fashioned way and earned it.” Gallagher called Jal, “the little town that could,” and said even more positive things are on the horizon for Jal.
At a special meeting Thursday the town sold eight acres of city-owned land behind the former Burke Junior High building to Rockin’ S Land and Livestock from Strawn, Texas, for $24,000. That land will soon become a yard for Orbit Construction, a subsidiary of Rockin’ S.
“They have 15-35 employees working in and around Jal at any given time,” Gallagher said. “They opened in Odessa seven years ago and now they have 175 employees there.”
He said the company is hiring a sales manager who is expected to relocate to Jal and the company is encouraging other employees to relocate to the community as well.
A representative of Rockin’ S or Orbit could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Gallagher said the city owns 12 acres behind the Burke building and will be leasing the other four to Cain Electric. The company recently moved a warehouse into a portion of the Burke building and already needs room to expand because of the demand for their services.
Cain serves the oilfield with electrical equipment.
The city also sold four acres Thursday to David and Gloria Torres, of Lovington, owners of Benco Trucking. The company is seeing increased business in Jal and has been looking to expand a yard to Jal.
“I am pleased to start a business here in Jal,” David Torres said at the meeting. “We established our business in 2011 and up to date we have a completely clean record, no accidents.”
Among stipulations for the company moving into the location is the installation of a six-foot sheet metal fence around the west and north sides of the property and landscaping along the west side of the property.
The company is also not allowed to drive trucks west of the property on Whitworth or down Mesquite. They must enter and exit onto Highway 18. The company currently has six employees working in Jal and is aiming for 10, Torres said. The city council agreed, with Melody Beckham voting “no,” to sell the four acres at $5,000 an acre to Benco.
Gallagher said with the sale the basketball courts adjacent to the property will be torn out and new courts built at a more centralized site at the lake park.
Finally Gallagher announced PB Materials, doing business as Wallach Concrete is building a yard in Jal.
Walter Ziemann, general manager for Wallach, said the company is moving its Eunice facility to Jal to be closer to the growing oilfield activity and new frack sand facilities in the Kermit area.
The company is leasing land from Merryman Construction to locate the portable plant, which could become a permanent plant if demand warrants, Ziemann said.
“We are getting a little closer to the jobs and Jal has schools and things going on there and they have been screaming for concrete for years,” Ziemann said. “It will be a portable plant and we will probably permanently station two-three trucks there. Permanent, three-four employees to start, two drivers and a batch man.”
Just what the plant will mean for Jal financially is unclear, but Ziemann said it could be a big boost to the town’s gross receipts tax revenues.
“We think this plant will be busier than Eunice because of the frack sand sites coming up,” he said
He said the challenge of expanding has been the lack of work force and the company is hiring and paying top dollar. “We need truck drivers,” he said. “We are hiring drivers up to $23 an hour. We are paying top dollar to get them out there”
He said the facility should be up and running the first of August.
The city also approved a water tap for the company, providing it commercial water. The company expects to use some 75,000 gallons of water per month.
Gallagher said the tap will not be an industrial tap because the water will not be resold but used for making cement.