City approves ‘inducement’ for cheese plant

By Jack King

Clovis’ city commission on Thursday approved issuing $250 million in industrial development bonds as incentive for bringing Southwest Cheese Co. to Curry County.
Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation, told the commission the bonds are “an inducement, not a commitment.” They put the property on which the cheese plant will be built in the city’s name and provide tax abatements for Southwest Cheese Co., but they will be paid off by the company and investors, not the city, he said.
City Attorney Dave Richards said the city has not committed to issuing the bonds yet, merely taken the first step by announcing the plan. Further public proceedings will be required before the city issues the bonds, he said.
On a 6-1 vote, the commission also approved awarding a contract for architectural services on the proposed city civic center. The top-ranking firm of five interviewed for the job is Dekker/Perich/Sabatini of Albuquerque.
Commissioner Isidro Garcia voted against awarding the contract, saying he does not believe now is the right time to begin building a convention center.
The commission approved a request by City Manager Ray Mondragon to hire an outside-the-city company to perform a survey of the salaries of all city job positions. The survey will compare Clovis salaries with other cities of comparable size and should be completed by February, Mondragon said.
At Mondragon’s request, the commission increased the allowable expenditure for the study from $7,500 to up to $10,000.
Commissioner Catherine Haynes suggested the survey also contain a study of job turnover rates in comparable cities.
Mayor David Lansford said he and Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega will travel to Washington, D.C., Wednesday through Nov. 14 with a delegation from the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority to seek federal money for the Ute Water Project.
Lansford also said there had been “a touch of controversy” when some Quay County residents objected to an ENMRWA representative serving on the committee developing a master plan for Ute Lake. The water commission has backed off its request to contribute to that master plan, he said.
Haynes said she has received a letter from Jay Burns, an eighth-grade student at Yucca Junior High School, outlining a plan for putting more information about the city’s airport on its new, upgraded Web site.
In other business:
> In a discussion of commissioners’ committee assignments, the commission agreed that a commissioner will no longer serve on the city’s personnel grievance board.
> The commission approved a beer and wine license for Kripple Creek Restaurant, 2417 N. Prince.