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City helps cheese plant with loans

The Clovis city commission voted Monday to accommodate the process of a bank loan to help fund construction of the roughly $195 million Southwest Cheese Plant.

The loan — between Southwest Cheese and Citibank — will not leave the city liable for any financial obligations, said City Attorney David Richards.

Since the city of Clovis owns the land at the cheese plant and issued its Industrial Revenue Bond in May for the benefit of the plant, the city will now help facilitate a loan for the plant by providing documents to the bank and acting as a liaison between the bank and Southwest Cheese.

“The city (will) execute documents and cooperates in the making of the loan ... (but) I can assure you there’s no financial responsibility,” Richards said.

Maurice Keane, chief executive officer for Southwest Cheese, said the loan would fund a majority of the project, but declined to be specific. He said the loan was expected and necessary to fund the project.

The Industrial Revenue Bond allows Southwest Cheese to receive tax breaks.