|By Joshua Akers, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jun. 4, 2004 - BERNALILLO, N.M. -- A bond deal between Sandoval County and Santa Ana Pueblo remains stalled.
The County Commission was scheduled to approve the $75 million deal last month, but the tribe requested more time to negotiate with investors.
Santa Ana approached the county in December to request industrial revenue bonds to refinance its Tamaya Resort and Twin Warriors golf course.
The tribe is facing a huge balloon payment and needs to refinance to keep the hotel and golf operation afloat.
Commission Chairman Daymon Ely said Thursday the county plans to take up the deal again at the end of the month.
The county approved the bonds in March, but must approve them again before the final deal is signed and the bonds are sold to investors.
Ely said Santa Ana was working with its investors on the execution of the bond deal and that the county was not privy to those discussions.
Once the bonds are sold, Santa Ana assumes all responsibility for the debt incurred and will use its resort and golf courses as collateral.
"I'm surprised at how long it's taken. I don't think it is because of us," Ely said.
Ely and County Manager Debbie Hays met with a representative from Santa Ana to discuss what the county would get in return for the bonds last week.
"The first time we met in a while was last Friday," Ely said. "It had been a while. It had been at least a couple of months since the last meeting."
The county is seeking an agreement in which Santa Ana would pay for emergency services on its land, join the Mid-Region Council of Governments and also pay the equivalent of a recent quarter cent tax approved by county voters in March. That tax will allow the county to keep paid and trained emergency personnel on call 24 hours a day.
Ely said the tribe was looking at the numbers for the new tax and has yet to get back to the county about it.
"I really don't think that is what is holding things up," Ely said. "We will have to work that out but I think it's their investors that they are working with. We are somewhat secondary right now."
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