Streamline - Spring 2013 - (Page 29)

Committed to the Future of BY DARLENE HUGHES, USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT USDA Rural Development believes rural Americans deserve the same services enjoyed by people in suburban and urban areas while retaining the advantages of small-town living. Rural Communities and improving quality of life for people living in rural America are the goals of the programs offered by Rural Development, an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For more than seventy years, their programs have provided financial assistance to support essential public facilities and services such as water and sewer systems, electric and telecommunication services, housing, health care centers, schools, and emergency service facilities. The agency also promotes economic development through the creation and improvement of viable businesses and cooperatives. USDA Rural Development believes rural Americans deserve the same services enjoyed by people in suburban and urban areas while retaining the advantages of small-town living. INCREASING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY Program assistance is provided through direct or guaranteed loans, grants, technical assistance, and educational materials. To accomplish their mission, USDA Rural Development often works in partnership with Virginia’s state and local governments, as well as rural businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit agencies. Rural Development has a variety of programs that may assist your community. Through their Rural Business and Cooperatives Program, financial and technical assistance opportunities are available to small and emerging businesses, cooperatives, and agricultural producers. The Rural Housing and Community Facilities Program offers financial and technical assistance for building, purchasing, or renovating single and/or multi-family housing, including rental assistance. Communities and community-based nonprofits also benefit through assistance available for essential community facilities such as health care, public safety, telecommunications, and public services. Also offered is the Rural Utilities Program, which provides financial and technical assistance in meeting community infrastructure needs for water and wastewater services, telecommunications, and electricity. The highlights of the utilities program are listed below: Water and Waste. Low-interest loans and grants are available for water, sewer, and solid waste facilities in rural areas of up to 10,000 people. Eligible applicants include public bodies and non-profit corporations. Funds can be utilized to build, repair, and/or improve public water systems and sewage collection and treatment systems and finance related costs, such as legal and engineering fees and the purchase of land. Interest rates are based on the service area’s median household income, and the interest rates at the time of this writing range from 1.875 to 3.125 percent. The maximum repayment term is 40 years. Grant eligibility is based on the area’s median household income, monthly user rates, and similar systems costs. While a community could qualify for as much as 75 percent of eligible project costs in the form of a grant, grants are limited by Virginia’s appropriation of grant funds. In addition to their direct loan program, Rural Development also offers a loan guaranteed program whereby up to 90 percent of a loan made by a private lender can be guaranteed against loss. Technical Assistance and Training. Grants can be provided for technical assistance and training to improve rural water and wastewater systems. Non-profit organizations serving a rural area of less than 10,000 people are eligible to apply. Solid Waste Management. This program provides grants for technical assistance and training to reduce pollution of water resources and improve management of solid waste facilities. Eligible applicants include public bodies and non-profit corporations in a rural area of less than 10,000 people. There is a network of offices throughout the Commonwealth that are committed to the future of rural communities. To learn more about how USDA Rural Development can help your community, contact your local office (listed below) or visit Rural Development on the Web at 29

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2013

From the President
From the Executive Director
What If?
Stormwater Management
Soapbox Farewell
Water and Wastewater Certifi cation Exam Test Taking Tips
Past 25 Years of VRWA
Proactive vs. Reactive
Asset Management and Drought Management
Is the Tank Contaminating the Water?
Committed to the Future of Rural Communities
Standard Operating Procedure For Leak Detection Using the Pressure Hold Method
The Virginia RATES Program is at Your Service
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Employee Introductions
VRWA 25th Annual Exposition Agenda
Wastewater Math
eLearning Benefits
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are?
Membership Application
Throwing My Loop
VRWA Mailbag
Welcoming New Members
Training Calendar
Board Of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index To Advertisers/

Streamline - Spring 2013