Rutledge receives #036;86,250 grant

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 28, 2004

Over a year ago, the Rutledge Town Council voted to begin its own garbage service.

When the new sanitation department hits the streets in a couple of months, they'll be riding in style.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently awarded the small town an $86,250 grant and a $28,750 community facilities loan to purchase a state-of-the-art garbage truck.

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"USDA Rural Development is pleased to recognize our partners in Crenshaw County and local leadership, along with their efforts to improve the quality of life in this area," State Director of the USDA Rural Development Steve Pelham said. "These funds represent President Bush's continued commitment to help increase job opportunities and provide resources to insure rural Alabama is a good place to live and raise a family.

According to a release from the USDA, during the Bush administration, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $50 billion to support home ownership, business and community development in rural America.

Rutledge Mayor Joe Dexter Flynn said grants are vital in helping small towns grow.

"Grants are real important," Rutledge Mayor Joe Dexter Flynn said. "They help you build your infrastructure up. Of course, a 75 percent grant is a tremendous opportunity for a small town like Rutledge to begin to have its own in-house garbage without having to rely on outside sources. We'll be able utilize that money instead of having to make payments and continue other programs. Twenty-five percent of the cost is a loan and is expected to be paid back."

The total cost of the 2004 Heil garbage truck, 250 residential containers, 10 commercial containers and a pressure washer was $115,000. The truck, which was purchased from Ingram Equipment Company out of Gadsden, sports a 20-yard body with a freightliner diesel truck.

"On behalf of the Town of Rutledge, I wish to offer my thanks for the support of the USDA Rural Development and its continuing support to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of this town," Flynn said. "Although the USDA Rural Development is the agency that makes the loans and grants, the people, particularly our Congressional Delegation - Sen. (Richard) Shelby, Sen. (Jeff) Sessions, Congressman (Terry) Everett and Steve Pelham and his entire staff are to be commended for the untiring work to make the programs possible."

Currently BFI services the town's garbage needs. Flynn said the waste disposal agency will continue to serve the town until the new truck is delivered and contract obligations are fulfilled. He said the truck should be delivered within the next 30 days.

With the addition of the garbage service, Rutledge will have to hire an extra employee to assist with the added workload. Flynn believes the addition of the service and another employee will add to Crenshaw County's tax base.

"Any time you have an in-house serve, not only do you create jobs, but also you create a service that stays here at home," Flynn explained. "The fuel that we buy will be purchased locally, whereas another company might buy in another county. There are several things that can contribute to the growth."

Garbage will continue to be picked up once a week for residential customers and as many times as requested by commercial owners. Currently services are provided for $11.60 per month. Flynn said the fee will remain the same.

Commission awarded much-needed funds

Visits to the county courthouse are rarely pleasant.

For Crenshaw County Courthouse visitors confined to wheelchairs, their visits are never pleasing.

Handicapped visitors will soon have easier accessibility to the second level of the courthouse following the news that an elevator would soon be installed.

A $42,403 grant and a $78,747 community facilities loan was recently presented to the Crenshaw County Commission by the USDA Rural Development to secure the funds needed to install the elevator.

"The County Commission is very grateful for this funding, as it will serve a need that is far past due for our citizens," Commission Chairman Ronnie Blackmon said. "The elevator is something that was needed, and pushed back because of the numerous needs, and all could not be met. This has helped us feel that we have accomplished a step forward for Crenshaw County, and we appreciate the help in this accomplishment. This will make all our facilities accessible to all citizens of Crenshaw County."

CCEIDA receives funds

The Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority also received some funding from the USDA to develop a study to assist with business development and job creation in Crenshaw County.

The USDA Rural Development awarded $75,000 in the form of a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to the agency.

"We are so proud of the relationship that all of Crenshaw County has developed over the years with the USDA Rural Development," CCEIDA Chairperson Jimmy Lester said in a prepared statement. "Our ability to achieve the successful location of the five new industries in the last 18 months is a direct relationship to the assistance of USDA."

Lester said the funds will be used to develop several studies to assist the entire county in developing plans for "growth" that will follow new industry. Such studies will deal with population increase, housing needs, economic impacts and lodging needs.

"Historically for each one new manufacturing job that is created; two service/commercial jobs are created," Lester explained. "Crenshaw County has gone from a previously projected negative 0.3 percent population decrease in the next 10 years to a positive 8.4 percent population increase projection now. Development in Crenshaw County has, as the old song goes, Only Just Begun.