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Frito-Lay receives OK for $67 million in bonds.

The city of Jonesboro recently approved an ordinance to issue $67 million worth of industrial development bonds for the Frito-Lay North America plant in Jonesboro.

The money will be used to expand Frito-Lay's chip line and add 100 jobs. It is the third series of bonds to be issued for Frito-Lay since 1997, said Anne Parker of Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard of Little Rock, an attorney handling the bond ordinance.

So far, $200 million has been issued to build the plant and add a number of chip lines, she said.

"These types of bonds never involve any economic risk to the city," Parker said.

In addition to the chip line, the Frito-Lay plant will be adding its own wastewater treatment equipment for the company to handle its own waste, said Jonesboro City Water & Light Manager Ron Bowen.

"(Frito-Lay's) waste load out of that potato chip line is huge," Bowen said. "So we have been negotiating with them since last summer to try and arrive at the most efficient, cost-effective way to treat that waste."

The solution was for CWL to pay Frito-Lay $3.1 million to cancel its contract with the company. Frito-Lay will then use the money to buy its own wastewater treatment equipment.

The wastewater Frito-Lay produces will not be mixed with any fecal matter, so it could be sold for animal feed, Bowen said.

"It just ended up being the most economical way to deal with it," Bowen said. "It eliminates millions of dollars in capital improvements that we don't have to make."

Bowen said it might have cost CWL about $7 million to make the improvements.

Frito-Lay, which opened the plant in 1998, has about 550 employees.
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Title Annotation:NE Journal: A Look at News From Northeast Arkansas
Author:Friedman, Mark
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 3, 2006
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