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Fire departments buy new fire trucks through Federated, USDA loan program « Back to Search Results Featured Item!
Posted on: August 17, 2017
Category: Business/Finance/Economy

  The Heron Lake Fire Department was able to purchase a new truck thanks to a loan from their local electric cooperative and the USDA.

Two shiny new fire trucks are in the service area thanks to a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federated Rural Electric in Jackson, Minn.


The Cities of Heron Lake and Round Lake were looking for creative, affordable ways to finance new fire trucks due to the current models (1979 and 1980) no longer meeting safety standards. Both cities purchased new tanker pumper fire trucks that will be more dependable and continue to ensure the public safety of these regions. Heron Lake financed $231,515, while Round Lake financed $190,000.  


“The Federated/USDA loan took this purchase from impossible to possible,” said Chad Diemer, Heron Lake fire chief. "Our new tanker is 3,000 gallons, replacing the 1,500 gallon tanker. Plus, this new truck is an automatic so anyone can drive it – even in our turnout gear. The new truck’s pump is 1,250 gallons per minute, which tops the old unit’s 750 gallons per minute.”


The Round Lake Fire Department had similar reasons for needing a new fire truck.


“The old fire truck was becoming unsafe to have in service,” said Mike Smith, Round Lake fire chief. “Many parts of the truck weren’t worth trying to keep up as they were rusted out. Some of the newer features include bigger pumps, it holds twice as much water and a deck nozzle, too.”


As an electric cooperative and utility provider, Federated Rural Electric applied for a loan through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program (REDLG) on behalf of these two organizations in 2016.


“Federated applies for the zero-interest loan and then charges up to one-percent handling to both organizations,” said Scott Reimer, Federated Rural Electric's general manager. “As they pay back their loans, this money goes into a revolving loan fund to assist other organizations for economic development or community facilities. In addition, Federated was required to add 20 percent matching funds to this revolving loan fund.”


“This is the second time that Federated has applied for this USDA revolving loan fund,” Reimer added. “Back in 2009 Federated secured $244,000; it was split between the City of Ceylon to use on a fire truck and Tenhassen Township to build a new township hall.


Over the past three years alone, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $5 million in REDLG funding to support community facilities and small business development and expansion in rural communities throughout Minnesota. Rural Development also invests in housing, water and wastewater treatment, community facilities, renewable energy and broadband.


For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, please contact your local Area Office by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/mn.


Federated has a long history of economic development. Since 1992, Federated provided economic development dollars totaling $3.8 million. This contributed to keeping 1,086 jobs and securing 448 new jobs in the area.


“Federated also appreciates Erin Sparks’ work at Great River Energy, Maple Grove, for the grant-writing assistance,” Reimer added.


Federated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 6,700 members in Jackson and Martin Counties.

Members of the Round Lake Fire Department pose with their loan check.