WILLISTON, N.D. - City of Williston officials hosted representatives from Eddy County, New Mexico, today at the State of the City address. Eddy County is home to the Permian Basin where oil production is rising rapidly and so is the influx of people. Despite the boom in job opportunities, Eddy County is now facing the same set of challenges that plagued Williston and Williams County ten years ago.
Eddy County District 1 Commissioner Ernie Carlson said: "Carlsbad has been about 27,000 people for as long as I can remember. Now during the week, we jump to around 100,000 people. That's quite the jump. You can go into some of the stores and try to buy groceries on a weekend and there are a lot of bare shelves, so how did you deal with that?"
"The housing that is available is super expensive and I think that is some of the things that Williston and Williams County are still dealing with is the cost of housing, so we are in the planning stage right now to best deal with those issues," said Jeri Strong, Eddy County Oil & Gas liaison.
There are a lot of parallels in the boomtown experience for Williams and Eddy counties, but Eddy County District 4 Commissioner Steven McCutcheon says he's impressed with how North Dakota has put things in place, such has Operation Prairie Dog, to make sure the oil patch stays successful.
"Our state doesn't listen to us very well. We were able to send a couple billion dollar surplus up to the state session this past year and very little of that came back to Eddy and Lee County. Eddy and Lee Counties are the biggest oil and gas producers in the state of New Mexico and is responsible for around 45 percent of the budget for the state. We are glad to come up here and see your state supporting you," said McCutcheon.
Eddy County officials agreed that one thing they are glad they don't have to deal with is the bitter North Dakota winters.