Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | May 24, 2017

Uncertainty remains about USDA loan

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Apr 26, 2017

The federal government is in a state of flux, and it’s putting the city of Fairfield in a pinch.

The city hopes to receive financial assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture to pay for improvements to the wastewater treatment facility.

City Administrator Mike Harmon announced at Monday’s meeting that he still didn’t know if the USDA subsidized loan would come through.

USDA employees have informed the city that the federal government is only funded through April 28. If Congress does not approve a spending bill before then, the government will shut down. That means nobody in Washington D.C. will be able to process the city’s loan.

“They’re not doing this to be mischievous or to play games,” Harmon said. “They just don’t know what they have for funding.”

The potential shutdown has come at a bad time for Fairfield. The city received bids to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility, but those bids expire May 15.

If the loan is not processed by then, the city won’t have its funding in place. And without funding in place, the project cannot commence and the city will have to send it out for bids again. Harmon wants to avoid that.

“The bids are now public, so the contractors know what each other has bid,” he said.

Harmon said the bids are unlikely to come back the same now that they have been published.

Since the council had not heard from the USDA by the time of its meeting Monday, it had to table eight action items that dealt with the wastewater treatment plant.

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