More than $13-million in USDA grants and low-interest loans will be used to support water and broadband infrastructure improvements in six Mississippi communities. USDA Rural Development approved $6.39 million in grants and $6.67 million in low-interest loans for projects in Jasper, Monroe, Pontotoc, Quitman, Oktibbeha, and Tate counties.
Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith welcomed the improvements:
“Infrastructure is critical for the well-being and economic success of our state,” Wicker said. “Congress and the Department of Agriculture are working hard to ensure these Mississippi communities have the resources they need to improve their water and broadband infrastructure.”
“USDA Rural Development works as an active partner with rural communities and service providers to make utilities, including broadband, more available to people and businesses in Mississippi. These six awards reflect those efforts,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the appropriations subcommittee that funds USDA grant programs.
Five of the six awards are through the USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, which provides resources for water infrastructure projects serving rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less. The remaining award is through the USDA Community Connect program, which provides financial assistance to applicants that will provide broadband service in rural, economically-challenged communities where service does not exist.
Work associated with these USDA Rural Development awards includes:
- Bay Springs Telephone Company Inc., Hinds County – $3 million Community Connect grant for an approximately 80-mile Fiber-to-the Premises system to benefit 1,066 residents and five businesses in the Jasper County service area. Subscribers will have access to service up to 1 Gbps, expanding access to economic, educational, health care, and public safety opportunities. A community center will be provided in an existing building where residents can access the Internet free of charge for at least two years.
- Quincy Water Association, Monroe County – $1.867 million grant and $2.381 million loan for constructing two new treatment facilities, and making necessary improvements to the distribution system to allow water to be adequately distributed. The project will also include installing new radio read meters.
- The Town of Sherman, Pontotoc County – $1.41 million grant and $1.89 million loan for two treatment facilities that will allow the water to be adequately distributed and to install radio read meters.
- South Lake Water Association Inc., Quitman County – $122,000 grant and $150,000 loan for replacing and upgrading water lines on major roadways.
- Oktoc Water Association Inc., Oktibbeha County – $609,000 loan to install two treatment facilities, make necessary improvements to the distribution system that will allow the water to be adequately distributed, and install new radio read meters.
- The City of Senatobia, Tate County – $1.64 million loan to provide additional funding to upgrade the existing collection system and components to help prevent overflow situations and increase the wastewater treatment facility. Older equipment and increased demand for hydraulic loading associated with the city’s growth have resulted in failures and repairs.