By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
The Tucumcari City Commission approved an application Thursday for a state economic development grant designed to help Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory reduce contaminants in the byproducts it sends to the city wastewater treatment plant.
The Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp. will apply for the $141,830 in grant money to help the cheese factory include the water-quality equipment in its expansion plans.
If the application is successful, the grant will fund the cheese factory’s construction of a lift station and holding tank that will help keep its wastewater discharges from interfering with operations of the Tucumcari wastewater treatment plant.
According to grant documents, the cheese factory’s expansion will bring in a payroll of $262,080 while under construction. After that, it is expected to increase its current payroll by $218,400 to $262,080 per year. These projected payroll figures assume an hourly pay rate of $10.50.
At Thursday’s commission meeting, Pat Vanderpool, executive director of the economic development corporation, called the project “a win-win for the city, the cheese factory and for jobs.”
At its June 26 meeting, the commission approved a request allowing the cheese factory to close off an alley that runs through its property in order to allow indoor transfer of newly made cheese from the production floor to a cold storage facility.
Charles Krause, owner of the cheese factory, has said he needs to enclose the alleyway to comply with new food safety and federal Homeland Security regulations involving protection of food products.