For every optimist, there’s a skeptic, and when it comes to the Eagle Ford Shale, Thomas Tunstall admits he set his expectations low.
"The thing that surprised me, and I'll admit to being a bit skeptical when I first started seeing information about Eagle Ford, I wondered if it was worth all the hype," said Tunstall, the director of the Institute for Economic Development at UTSA.
On Friday, he previewed an economic impact study at the Eagle Ford Consortium, and he said a lot has changed since a preliminary study was released about a year ago.
Some of the more active counties have seen sales tax revenue increases as high as 500 percent in recent years.
Daryl Fowler is a judge in Dewitt County, where Cuero is seeing that kind of boost and that kind of skepticism, too.
He points to a hotel that opened in 2010 as the perfect example.
“There was a feeling that ... they would never fill up. They’ve not had a vacant room since," he said.
More rooms are already being planned and constructed.
He also said the big money isn’t just for big land owners. He’s encouraged by the entrepreneurial spirit in his county.
"People with five- and 10-acre tracts along the highways and the farm-to-market roads are now taking loads of gravel and hiring the local electricians and plumbers to come in and develop 50-spot RV parks," Fowler said.
Just like people didn’t think the hotels would fill up, there are plenty of people predicting the 17 new RV parks won’t last.
Tunstall said a drop in the price of oil could slow things down, but as long as the oil and gas are flowing, the cash will be, too.