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$70 million in bonds OK’d for Santa Teresa project

cnwirewiretwoLAS CRUCES — Doña Ana County commissioners on Tuesday approved a $70 million bond incentive to attract a new copper-wire manufacturer to Santa Teresa.

Those incentives stirred the frustrations of a second, competing wire manufacturer that has been operating since 2011 across the street from the location of the proposed new facility.

Before the vote, commissioners heard words of support for the project from local economic development officials and state Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela. They backed approving $70 million in industrial revenue bonds for the Turkish firm CN Wire Corp. The company is looking to refurbish an existing building in Santa Teresa for a new plant and create about 200 jobs over three years.

Oguz Abalioglu, executive board member for Er-Bakir, parent company for CN Wire, said the company was pleased with the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.

The company — not the county — is responsible for repaying industrial revenue bonds. And the county holds assets as collateral until the bonds are repaid.

County officials have said previously the main advantage to a new company in getting industrial revenue bonds is that it winds up paying less in taxes than it otherwise would without the bonds.

In the case of CN Wire Corp., the company will pay yearly revenue to the county to make up for a portion of what it would have paid if the bonds weren’t in place, county officials said Tuesday.

Prior to the commission’s decision, representatives of International Wire Group — the wire manufacturer already in Santa Teresa — told commissioners they were logging a formal complaint that CN Wire and the industrial revenue bond project would directly compete with its own enterprise.

That’s notable because of a state law, 4-59-15, which specifies that industrial revenue bonds can’t be issued “until the state Board of Finance has determined that the proposed project will not directly or substantially compete with an existing business or enterprise located within the boundaries of the county … of the proposed project.”

International Wire Group employs 65 people at its Santa Teresa plant, one of 12 factories in the United States, company officials said. The Santa Teresa plant has a $3 million-per-year payroll.

Edwin Flynn, chief operating officer for International Wire Group, said he was “a little bit disappointed” with the commission’s decision. His company doesn’t have a problem competing in the market, he said. But the incentives offered by the county and state don’t result in a “level playing field.”