Ris­ing Sun gets bridge loan to help fi­nance wa­ter line project

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— A change by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture in the way it makes low-in­ter­est loans avail­able for in­fra­struc­ture has caused town of­fi­cials to get a loan to cover its loan.

Ris­ing Sun is cur­rently in the process of fig­ur­ing out how to fi­nance the es­ti­mated $10 mil­lion it will cost the town to bring wa­ter into town through Chester Wa­ter Author­ity.

“The USDA ... won’t ap­prove in­terim fi­nanc­ing un­til the per­mits and de­sign are done,” Calvin Bo­nen­berger, Ris­ing Sun town ad­min­is­tra­tor, ex­plained to the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers last week.

Pre­vi­ously, such as when Ris­ing Sun’s new waste­water treat­ment plant was be­ing built, the fed­eral agency ap­proved the town’s plan to get a line of credit with PNC for the

RIS­ING SUN

$14 mil­lion project. Once con­struc­tion was com­plete and the plant was on­line, USDA paid back that loan, giv­ing the town low-in­ter­est, longterm USDA fi­nanc­ing.

But now, USDA re­quires more to be ac­com­plished be­fore money is freed. Bo­nen­berger es­ti­mates the town will ex­pend $750,000 be­fore a shovel breaks ground on the wa­ter line from CWA.

“Small com­mu­ni­ties don’t have a lot of money ly­ing around so we had to get a bridge loan,” he ex­plained.

That bridge loan, at 1.2 per­cent in­ter­est, comes through a pro­gram set up for towns like Ris­ing Sun called CoBank. It’s a na­tional co­op­er­a­tive bank for ru­ral towns, based in Con­necti­cut.

“When the bridge loan is paid off we may go back to them and get the in­terim loan,” he said. “They have in­cred­i­ble in­ter­est rates.”

How­ever, th­ese new reg­u­la­tions also bring a mea­sure of fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, Bo­nen­berger told the board.

“We can­not bor­row any more money for the wa­ter project un­til the bridge loan is paid off,” he said. The elected body had con­cerns. “Is $750,000 enough to han­dle those costs?” Com­mis­sioner Augie Pier­son asked. “(If) in the per­mit­ting process and the engi­neer­ing we come across costs we weren’t ex­pect­ing, we have the abil­ity to get more?”

Pier­son, who was a mem­ber of the board for three terms un­til 2012, re­minded the board that un­ex­pected ex­penses should be ex­pected.

Bo­nen­berger said this bridge loan, like a in­terim loan, amounts to a line of credit.

“But we’re also pay­ing in­ter­est on this. We don’t want to pay more in­ter­est,” he added.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MARY­LAND FIRE MAR­SHAL

It took about 15 min­utes to ex­tin­guish an ac­ci­den­tal fire that de­stroyed a mo­bile home in Ear­leville on Fri­day.

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