Streamline - Winter 2015 - (Page 25)

Economic Opportunity: USDA Rural Development/Virginia BY JIM MARAS, THE COMMUNITY PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR RD IN VIRGINIA ThESE WoRDS aRE a key part of the USDA Rural Development (RD) mission statement. In whole, the statement is "To create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all rural Americans." RD works to accomplish this by utilizing more than 40 loan, loan guarantee and grant programs to finance housing, businesses, broadband, community facilities, water/waste systems and just about any infrastructure need a rural community may desire. Our unique structure of local offices staffed by people who also live and work in rural Virginia makes RD a premier rural development facilitator. RD can help by contributing structure and process to your community, allowing you to function effectively and make high-quality decisions. We are a helper and enabler whose goal is to support you as you pursue improvements. In order for RD to fulfill our mission, we need rural Americans to seize economic opportunities and make decisions that improve the quality of life. I see this happening all over rural Virginia, but it is not happening everywhere. Our programs provide support, but local officials must have goals and objectives and make high quality decisions to seize the opportunities. One piece of the support RD can provide is in the community programs area. Similar to recent years (beginning October 1), we expect to have approximately $30 million in loan funding and $8.4 million in grant funding for water and waste projects (drinking water, wastewater, solid waste, storm water). Community facilities funding (health care, education, emergency response, other public projects) should be nearly $45 million in loan and $400,000 in grant. We can facilitate local improvement projects in rural Virginia with the loan and grant funding. Grant funding is very limited, and a loan is the likely funding solution. Our loan terms are unmatched with terms up to 40 years and interest rates as low as 2 percent. Seizing economic opportunity and improving quality of life requires local leaders to have a plan. We need to have Our unique structure of local offices staffed by people who also live and work in rural Virginia makes RD a premier rural development facilitator. sustainable water systems and essential community facilities that will provide rural Virginia a path to success. Making the tough decisions on how to fund improvements to the infrastructure in rural communities is the first step. Contact the RD offices in your area for support. I will take this opportunity to also introduce myself. I am Jim Maras, the community program director for RD in Virginia. I previously worked for RD in Minnesota and Washington, D.C., and have more than 30 years of experience in water infrastructure and community facility lending. I am married with four children, with my oldest daughter serving at the naval base in Portsmouth. I replaced Janice StroudBickes, who now serves as the assistant state director for RD VA. I want to thank Dr. Basil Gooden, state director for RD in VA, for the opportunity to be here and support rural Virginia. I look forward to working to create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all of rural Virginia. Please contact me at 804287-1590 or by email at james.maras@ va.usda.gov. www.vrwa.org 25 http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2015

From the President: Performance Evaluation
From the Executive Director: Save the Date!
Professional or Job Holder: Which Will You Be?
Emergencies: Do You Have A Plan?
Finding Your Way
Hearing Protection – Keep Your Employees Safe
Coal
Economic Opportunity: USDA Rural Development/Virginia
Rate Setting – It’s Easy?
Chronic Leaks
NRWA Recap
Throwing My Loop: Fresh Water
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
2015-2016 Membership Directory
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
VRWA Members Corner
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com

Streamline - Winter 2015

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