City receives USDA grant and loan

Mayor Ravi Bhasker is congratulated by Art Garcia, State Director for USDA Rural Development in New Mexico at a special meeting of the Socorro City Council on March 27. The combination of a grant and loan provides almost $8 million for upgrading the city’s water/sewage system. Flanking Bhasker and Garcia are Councilor Gordy Hicks (left) and Councilors Nick Fleming and Michael Olguin(right).

A grant and loan financing package totaling $7,892,462 was awarded to the city of Socorro last week from the USDA.

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small said the grant amount is $2,942,462 and the loan amount is $4,950,000. The money will be used to upgrade and replace interceptor sewer loans which are no longer structurally sound as they are either clay or asbestos, a high priority of Socorro.

“USDA Rural Development grants are essential to expanding economic opportunities and improving quality of life for rural residents,” said Torres Small. “This grant and loan award will enable the City of Socorro to make much-needed repairs and upgrades to their wastewater infrastructure.”

On March 27, the USDA Rural Development State Director Art Garcia hosted an event at Socorro City Hall to celebrate the award.

The USDA worked with local partners to provide financing for the 49 water and environmental infrastructure projects throughout the United States. The funding is being provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used for drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Monies from the loan and grant will be used by the city of Socorro to upgrade the city’s wastewater delivery system. This includes the replacement of interceptor sewer lines that are no longer structurally sound. Also, several sewage pumps will be replaced.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. The assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and healthcare as well as high-speed internet access for rural areas.