DETCOG turns to USDA for funding

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - By Donna McCollum - email

SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (KTRE) - The Deep East Texas Council of Governments board reviews grant applications. A health clinic, a library and a museum are all applying for low-interest loans. They don't have anything to do with farming, but they're seeking the funding from the United States Department of Agriculture.

"There are several agencies within the USDA and ours with the name of Rural Development," said Sebrina Glenn, the district director of the USDA Rural Development. "We are for the rural community, so as part of the Department of Agriculture, we're trying to either bring jobs and development to the rural areas."

Applications for infrastructure improvements are increasing. DETCOG advises rural developers to seek the federal funding.

"Texas is a large state that's a donor state to Washington and we just want our fair share from Washington," said DETCOG Director Walter Diggles.

USDA Rural Development encourages application. They just can't tell you how much money is readily available.

"We don't know from day to day," Glenn said.

Then there's the $26 billion projected shortfall at the state level.

"So we're waiting to see what committees are going to be appointed by the Senate and House and then we'll start, maybe, educating and making sure the needs of Deep East Texas is going to be well represented," Diggles said.

A budget crisis at two levels of government creates uncertainty. However, leaders take every opportunity to present the cause in behalf of small towns everywhere.

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