Big Brown & Fairfield RESEARCH Impact

Big Brown & Fairfield RESEARCH Impact

Since the announcement that Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County will likely become a casualty of “challenging plant and market economics,” everyone is scrambling.

According to the press release, sited in the Waco Tribune October 13, 2017, Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, announced the upcoming closures of two coal-fired power plants in Central Texas. From the closure of Big Brown, Freestone County expects about 200 job losses. Freestone County Judge Linda Grant said, “This will have a significant impact. We’re losing jobs, well-paying jobs, and we will see a decrease in our tax base. This is a tremendous blow for a county our size.”

If you think the impact of job loss ends with these 200, think again. The entire county and the surrounding areas will also be impacted. Even with the reduced tax value offered Big Brown for several years, at $65 million, they remained the largest tax revenue generator in the county of about 20,000 residents. This tax base loss will have a ripple effect for months, years, or even decades to come if not replaced.

We live in a tertiary theory environment. The three-sector theory is an economic model which divides economies into three sectors of activity: extraction of raw materials (primary – the Turlington Mine), manufacturing (secondary – Big Brown), and services (tertiary). The service sector is the third of the three economic sectors and perhaps where the greatest long-term effect of the loss of Big Brown will be felt.


Examples of tertiary industries may include the following:


BIG INDUSTRY AFFECTS | American Planning Association

According to statistics the employment of 50* persons in a basic industry potentially have the following secondary and tertiary effects:

A 50-person industry will support from 300 to 400 people;

  • require 75 to 100 homes;
  • put 200 children in school;
  • require six teachers;
  • cause the purchase of 100 automobiles;
  • support 10 stores with annual sales of $175,000;
  • sustain eight professionals (dentists, doctors, lawyers, ministers, etc.) in the community;
  • pay about $175,000 annually for transportation;
  • buy the products of 1,000 acres of land;
  • provide a payroll of $65,000 to $85,000;
  • establish a tax foundation of $ 800,000.

*The above numbers would of course have to be multiplied as the Freestone County’s loss of 200 jobs is far greater than the stated 50-person base in the example.

We know the potential and probable impact. What we don’t know is the direction going forward? What is Freestone County doing to lessen the impact of losing Big Brown?

A Freestone County Times article, dated October 13, 2017, sited a 120-day extended notice for the Big Brown site. The extended notice, according to a previous press release, was issued in order to explore a sales process for the Freestone County site during the notification process. Fairfield Mayor Hill stated, “I do realize, it is a long time until February, and lots can happen between now and then,”. “A lot of us will be trying everything in our power to make sure that our power plant does not close, if at all possible.” In another statement, Hill stated, “As Mayor, I will not rest until that is accomplished,”.


As a former 18-year Career Consultant, when news hit, I couldn’t just stand by. I began researching towns of similar fate and the long-term impact of this type of devastating news.

In a small community, it is challenging to absorb this type of impact in terms of job displacement. However, there are things you can do to hopefully lessen the impact. First and foremost, speak to the companies’ exit specialist to determine your benefits, if any. While there, seek advice as to your job placement options and weather seeking Unemployment Benefits would have any effect on your exit package.  Secondly, contact your local Texas Workforce Center in Teague, Texas located at 517 E Main St, Teague, TX 75860 Phone: +1(254) 739-2887 to begin the benefits process. For those of you who have a negative connotation of seeking these benefits, remember, YOU and people in your situation are the reason this system was set up. It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up in a very trying time. You’ve paid into it. You’ve earned it. Thirdly, begin your search. This includes preparing a resume, or updating your existing one. With the smaller job-base available in this area, you may need to go outside of your normal geographic scope to find opportunities that meet your needs.


An option that may be of interest is to work from home. In researching options, I ran across a couple of articles that looked promising. This option may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a look-see.

Top 100 Remote | Work-At-Home Jobs | Forbes

OnLine Jobs

Lastly, and as hard as it is to say and hear, moving outside of our beloved area may be necessary. Should this be the case, with prayer, and a little effort on your part, this could be the beginning of an amazing journey. If you are a home owner, and you find yourself in the position of needing to sell, I’d be happy to help you explore the home-selling steps and work with you through the process. If you’re looking to purchase a home in the state of Texas, I can assist in finding a home that fits your new needs.

Give me a call at +1 (254) 747-1602 I’d love to help. Or contact me at

Best wishes and let me know if I can be of assistance.

Articles cited and others of interest:

Impact of Large Industries on Small Communities | American Planning Association

Ghost Towns of the 21st Century | The Atlantic

How to Save the Post-Industrial Town

Big Brown Power Plant Closes, News Affects Four Corners Of Freestone County | FCT


About AskElle247

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