No surprise: Brawley OKs $600,000 in loans to beef plant

May 22, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The City Council here approved $600,000 in loans to Brawley Beef LLC on Tuesday, which came as no surprise since the city had promised the money as an incentive to attract the beef-processing plant.

The loans will cover costs associated with the beef plant's wastewater treatment processes, according to city officials.

In two separate votes, the council approved the loans — the first was for $200,000 and the second, totaling $400,000, was approved by the council sitting as the city Redevelopment Agency board.

Bill Brandt, an owner of Brawley Beef and owner of Brandt Cattle Co. in Brawley, said the loans were an important incentive for the plant.


"It was part of the incentive for the plant that brought it from Yuma to Brawley," Brandt said.

He pointed out that initially the plant was to built in Yuma, but the effort by Imperial Valley officials — and the incentives offered in that effort — succeeded in attracting the plant to Brawley.

Brandt said the relationship between the city and the plant has been strong, but he did talk of the odor concerns of some area residents.

"It's just unfortunate that we got off on the wrong foot with the odor problem," he said, adding, "We have worked hard and put a lot of money to get control of it and we will continue to do so."

During Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Toni Carrillo, who lives near the plant, credited Brawley Beef officials for their efforts to deal with the odor.

Carrillo took part in a recent tour of the plant's wastewater facilities, thought to be the source of the odors.

Carrillo said this morning, "I believe they are doing what they promised they would."

She said over the last two weeks she has not noticed any odors from the plant.

City and county officials have credited Brawley Beef as an important source for economic growth in the Imperial Valley.

Brandt said the plant has about 650 employees and more than 200 are from Brawley. Most of the rest come from other areas of the Valley.

When asked if the beef plant is succeeding in its first few months of operation, Brandt said the plant is processing some 1,400 cattle a day and is continuing to find new markets for its product.

He added, "We are committed to make this plant succeed."

In other action Tuesday, the council heard a presentation from a manufacturing company involved in the housing industry that is interested in opening a plant in the city.

A representative of the company, Alman Homes, based in Encino, told the council the company is interested in seeking 5 acres in the city for a manufacturing facility. The representative said the plant could provide at least 50 jobs.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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