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Oil boom turns into gold mine for many in Franklin

Robertson County has seen a virtual explosion in gas and oil exploration in the last five years. And residents are staking a fortune in Mother Nature's richest resources.

Nicole Morten
KBTX.com Bryan/College Station (Texas)

December 8, 2010

Above ground not much seems to be rumbling through Robertson County, but underground--that is a different story.

"We experienced a large boom," says Robertson County Judge Jan Roe. "Oil and gas exploration in the area, specifically gas exploration, has probably doubled, more than doubled the taxable value of property in the county over the last few years."

Roe says the boom began about five years ago after a rising tide of local landowners hit the jackpot. They have since been reaping the royalties of natures riches resources, oil and gas.

"Half of what runs this county is based on minerals," Roe explains.

The oil boom in Franklin is not only spurring hard infrastructure projects across the county, Roe also says the revenue is helping to repave a more sustainable future.

"The reward of the mineral boom is being experienced by every property owner regardless of if they are mineral owners or not," says Roe.

"The family business is being affected," says Toni Mathews, a Pharmacy Tech at the family-owned Duffy's Drug Inc. in Franklin. But Mathews admits, "I lucked out! There are gas wells all around me, my neighbors have one, I don't have one, but I would like to have some gas money!" laughs Mathews. "If it will happen then it will happen, if it doesn't then it doesn't."

"In Robertson county we are extremely rich," says Roe.

"Our school district in our county have gotten extremely rich and that's a good thing because the education of our children has all come largely in part from the revenue from the gas," says Mathews. "And our children are our future."

But in Franklin, there is more to being rich than what meets the eye or in many cases, the bank account.

"We're rich in volunteerism, we're rich in people, character, moral value and good fiber," says Judge Roe.

A community that is being held together with the help of Mother Nature and her tenacious bond.