DEQ awards stimulus funds to 13 municipalities

The following is a press release from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Equality:

BATON ROUGE, LA – On Wednesday, DEQ closed loans for 13 municipalities who will receive checks from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds for wastewater improvement projects in Louisiana. The following municipalities will receive the funds:

• Crowley, Acadia Parish - $1,000,000
• Hall Summit, Red River Parish - $134,300
• Jackson, East Feliciana Parish - $525,232
• Jeanerette, Iberia Parish - $250,000
• Leesville, Vernon Parish - $850,000
• Mansfield, DeSoto Parish - $1,214,800
• Merryville, Beauregard Parish - $1,000,000
• Oil City, Caddo Parish - $700,000
• Vinton, Calcasieu Parish - $1,200,000
• Welsh, Jefferson Davis Parish - $190,000
• White Castle, Iberville Parish - $686,000
• Winnfield, Winn Parish - $1,010,000

DEQ received $43 million in ARRA funding to distribute within the state for water and wastewater programs. To ensure that the benefits from the stimulus package were used equitably, DEQ looked at compliance issues, regional diversity and projects that would eliminate imminent threats to human health or the environment. The ability to repay traditional Clean Water Revolving Fund loans was considered, along with project cost, population served, the requested amount and projects that would provide economic recovery. The 55 projects in 42 parishes that were selected have an average median income of $22,785; well below the state's median income. These municipalities will not have to repay their loan award, as they were awarded a zero percent interest loan with 100 percent principal forgiveness.
The federal stimulus package allows states to keep up to four percent of their award for administrative expenses; for DEQ, this is approximately $1.7 million. To date, DEQ has opted to keep none of the allowable administrative set-aside dollars; instead putting those funds back into state projects.

Including today's closings, 41 projects have received a total of $35,186,423, which equals approximately 82 percent the available $43,081,400 in ARRA funds allocated to DEQ's Clean Water State Revolving Fund.  The remaining available funds are scheduled to be dispersed at loan closings in January 2010.