Streamline - Winter 2015 - (Page 25)
Economic Opportunity: USDA
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
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@
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
Economic Opportunity: USDA Rural Development/Virginia
Rate Setting – It’s Easy?
Throwing My Loop: Fresh Water
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
2015-2016 Membership Directory
Board of Directors
VRWA Members Corner
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Winter 2015