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Published March 06, 2013, 09:59 AM

Cirrus Pressed After Asking City for $1 Million

Officials with Cirrus Aircraft Administration are asking the city of Grand Forks for a nearly $1 million loan, something local leaders are wary of. Cirrus has a long history in Grand Forks and has borrowed money from the city in the past. Some council members worry the company's debt is a liability for the city.

Officials with Cirrus Aircraft Administration are asking the city of Grand Forks for a nearly $1 million loan, something local leaders are wary of. Cirrus has a long history in Grand Forks and has borrowed money from the city in the past. Some council members worry the company's debt is a liability for the city.

Cirrus is asking for the money to pay for an autoclave which the company says will suffice for the $11,000 monthly loan payment. But according to records the company endured a $54 million loss just last year, leaving some councilmen with reservations.

Despite those reservations, Cirrus says it has paid the city back in the past. William King,Cirrus VP Business Administration: "We have met every obligation we have had to the city of Grand Forks. I can't change the fact that the world changed in December of 2007."

But what appears to be a lack of planning by the company has half the committee in a bind. Bret Weber, City Councilman: "I'm concerned that there isn't a business plan. I've never been able to ask for loan without a business plan."

While others say having trust in the company in past years has paid off for the city before. Hal Gershman, Council President: "We should have forbearance here."

Chairman Doug Christensen raised the question of the relationship between Cirrus and its Chinese parent company. Christensen: "So if your parent won't give you the money please make a case why we should." King: "I think that's a grossly unfair characterization of us, of our parent and our relationship with them."

Vice President William King emphasized that they want to stay in Grand Forks. King: "We've got 15 years of history here, doesn't that count for anything?!"

Councilmen Gershman and Sande were optimistic in the company despite its debts, adding the city should invest in future possibilities with Cirrus. Sande: "The upside of this million dollars far outweighs the potential downside."

Councilman Weber told us the committee decided in an executive meeting to ask Cirrus for more information, similar to a business plan for the loan. They'll decide in next week's meeting to decide. Construction for the autoclave is expected to take several months, and the company's urgency frustrated some councilmen.

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