By Max Hrenda
Thanks to federal loans, two Carter County volunteer fire departments now have an opportunity to expand both their fleets and their effectiveness.
On Wednesday afternoon, the West Carter County Volunteer Fire Department and the Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department each received loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division for the purchase of new vehicles.
Each applied for the loans through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program, which provides money through grants or loans for public services such as education, transportation, and public safety.
Despite the program’s title, according to Bobby Goode, Tennessee’s state director of USDA-Rural Development, most of the funding is awarded through loans.
“We don’t get as much grant as we used to,” Goode said. “But we will invest close to $1 billion in rural Tennessee; we do no urban (areas). With that, about 96 percent will be a loan, because a very small part is grant.”