Egyptian Electric lands $360,000 REDLG loan

On hand for the check presentation were (L-R) EECA Board President Ken Jarrett, Degognia-Fountain Bluff Levee District Board Chair Carl Heins, EECA General Manager Shane Hermetz and EECA Member Services Manager Brooke Guthman.

Areas in Jackson County will soon have increased protection from flooding thanks to Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association’s (EECA) assistance in securing a $360,000 zero-interest, 10-year loan for Degognia-Fountain Bluff Levee and Drainage District.

The loan is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. USDA provided $300,000 of the funds and $60,000 was matched by EECA.

“It has always been important for Egyptian Electric to invest in rural communities,” said General Manager Shane Hermetz. “The cooperative is happy to provide support through the REDLG program.”

The levee district will utilize funds from the loan to repair and replace two of the existing pump systems. “The current pumps are 40-plus years old and were never designed to do what the district needs to remove water from areas that are at high risk for flooding,” said Mark Holt, commissioner for Degognia-Fountain Bluff.

According to Holt, there will be about 12,000 acres protected by these pumps. Flood events that occurred in 2011-12 caused a net income loss of more than $19 million. “Needless to say, the impact for the area will be dramatic,” Holt said.

The Degognia-Fountain Bluff Levee and Drainage District is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the levee system from Cora City to Fountain Bluff on the Mississippi River and Oakwood bottoms to Grimsby on the Big Muddy River.

This is the first REDLG loan EECA has assisted in attaining, and the co-op is currently accepting applicants from qualified member or non-member taxing entities within its service territory interested in the REDLG program.