Dec 29, 2009 11:32 AM by David Ortiviz

Pueblo approves agreement for $500 million plant

City council has approved a deal that could bring a $500 million power complex to Pueblo.

On Monday night, council voted 5-0 to pass the agreement, which will annex 30 acres of land near the airport into the city of Pueblo. Black Hills Energy purchased the land to build two natural gas plants.

As part of the deal, the city will give Black Hills a $2.5 million break on taxes. In return, the power company will give Pueblo $7.5 million, including $4.6 million now to balance the city's 2009 budget.

City council member Mike Occhiato excused himself from the vote because of a potential conflict of interest. City council member Judy Weaver was on vacation and did not vote on the issue either.

Black Hills Energy says Pueblo is its preferred site to build the power complex, however it has selected a site east of Denver as a backup plan. Black Hills Energy says it needs to work out agreements with several other agencies, including the Pueblo Board of Water Works, before making a decision.

If the deal falls through, Pueblo would have to refund the $4.6 million to Black Hills Energy.


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