ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Company spokesperson Adrienne Smith confirmed Tres Amigas has stopped courting Curry County and is now preparing to ask Clovis to issue an almost $2 billion industrial revenue bond.
The switch is not a snub for the county, according to Smith. Rather, Smith and others said, the city has experience in issuing IRBs and the county has none.
The city also collects an estimated $800,000 a year in local economic development tax money that can be used to help ventures such as Tres Amigas, said Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp. The county doesn’t have any such fund.
“It’s available,” Gentry said, quickly stressing, however, “We haven’t told them (Tres Amigas) they can use it. We’ve made no offers.”
At stake is an estimated $155 million in property taxes Tres Amigas may not have to pay over a 20-year period if the city issues the IRBs.
The county was considering a plan that had commissioners authorizing up to $1.9 billion in bonds to be purchased by a subsidiary of Tres Amigas. The plan also called for writing safeguards in the lease agreement to protect the county from any legal liability caused by the Tres Amigas project.
The CIDC’s plan could contain similar caveats. Tres Amigas is also proposing a change that would move its transmission plant about five miles closer to Clovis. Changing the location “shortens our transmission line and provides shorter access for construction and operating crews from the city of Clovis,” Smith said in a recent email. The move also takes the bulk of the plant’s footprint out of the Texico school district and puts it in the Clovis Municipal Schools district.
The superstation connecting the nation’s three major electrical power grids is expected to be built in a series of phases over many years.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal