Sterling must move quickly to get USDA funds
STERLING — Sterling Town Councilman Curtis Ludvigson warned his fellow council members at their recent meeting that they had to move quickly on the city’s plan to apply for grant money from the USDA Rural Development.
According to Ludvigson, the new federal budget’s cuts to rural agencies like USDA Rural Development and the EPA “would be a disaster for rural America.” He warned, “We better go after the money this year, because after this year it may not be there.”
According to Ludvigson, the grant money would be used to clean up and stabilize the ground around two springs that the town uses for water sources. In the late 90s, a landslide damaged two of the town’s water source springs—one of the springs was damaged, and the other was “wiped out.”
While the town still has another undamaged spring and a well, the council is concerned that on-going development in the town would eventually mean a shortfall in the water supply.
The town already was approved for a $300,000 loan from the Division of Drinking Water last year, which they have until December of this year to utilize. However, the council would rather gain approval for a grant from USDA Rural Development for the same amount for the same project rather than pay back a loan of that size.
To complete the USDA Rural Development grant application, the town council still needs to complete a preliminary engineering report and an environmental assessment. Ludvigson theorized to the other council members that the town could use some of the Division of Drinking Water loan to pay for the two reports, without using all of it. However, whatever the council decided to do, he said that they need to move quickly.
The council agreed to continue to look into the issue but did not take any action on it at the meeting.