Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

USDA awards city millions in low-interest loan

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jul 19, 2017

The city of Fairfield received a pleasant surprise this week when it learned it had received millions of dollars in low-interest loan and grant monies from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The city applied for funds from the USDA to off-set the cost of building a wastewater treatment facility and equalization basin.

City administrator Mike Harmon said the amount of money the USDA awarded the city was “more than we expected.” The city received $4,848,000 in low-interest loan dollars and $914,000 in grant funds.

That brings the sum total of grants from the USDA to roughly $3.5 million, and low-interest loans totalling $34 million. Of that, $25 million is at a 1.625 percent interest rate, and the other $9 million is at a 2 percent rate, both below market rate.

“We knew that we could have received a higher interest loan, or even no loan at all,” Harmon said. “We were hoping for either another low-interest loan or grant funds, and we got both. We had our fingers crossed, and USDA came through for us.”

Harmon said the city is doing everything it can to reduce the burden on Fairfield residents.

“This money will lessen the amount of future rate increases,” he said. “We were looking at having to increase rates 40 percent, and that dropped to 12 percent over the next five years [as a result of USDA grants and loans].”

The Environmental Protection Agency has told Fairfield it must eliminate sanitary sewer overflows within five years. The city has asked for an extension of the deadline.


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