Elko County and city officials are trying to lure a proposed $70 million bottling plant and the 300 jobs that go with it to northeast Nevada.
The owner of the proposed plant is being kept a secret, but Elko City Councilman Glen Guttry said it is a Fortune 500 company.
The city is offering the bottler 500 gallons of free water a minute, but Guttry said the competition for the plant is stiff.
"I would give us less than a 30-percent chance of making the short list," Guttry said. "There are 17 cities out there and they are going to buy these jobs."
County commissioners agreed informally during an economic development workshop last week to provide some kind of financial assistance if needed to help the city bring the plant to Elko.
"We feel we can get the money one way or another," Commission Chairman Mike Nannini said. He agrees it's an uphill battle.
"It seems like they (other cities) are giving, giving, giving to attract the payroll base," he said.
County Chief Financial Officer Cash Minor has suggested the county consider a loan guarantee approach to economic development assistance. But Guttry said more is needed.
"We really don't need a co-signer," Guttry said. "We need a sugar daddy."
Assemblyman John Carpenter, R-Elko, urged both the city and the county to proceed with caution in trying to get the bottling plant located in Elko.
"I'm not against this," he said. "I'd feel a lot better if I knew who they are talking about."
Guttry said Sierra Pacific Power Co. knows the identity of the corporation but that disclosure would take Elko out of the running as a possible location.
The city's offer of the free water may have put Elko into consideration for the plant, he said.
"They absolutely did not want to come to Elko," he said. "The water made the difference."
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