YALAHA, Fla. – The Waterwood Community Association’s wastewater plant had been in operation for 32 years, and needed complete renovation to meet current regulatory standards. The community of 128 homes turned to the Rural Water Loan Fund to get quick, easy access to the financing needed to complete to the project.
“It’s a 34-year-old community and we have some things that need to be replaced,” said Hal Perry, chairman of the Waterwood finance committee.
Waterwood is a small self-managed community in Yalaha, Fla. that manages its own streets, water and sewer. The community began saving funds for the renovation in 2013, but still needed financing to complete the project. They made contact with the Florida Rural Water Association, and the state association connected them with the Rural Water Loan Fund.
The Rural Water Loan Fund is a National Rural Water Association funding program specifically designed to meet the unique needs of small water and wastewater utilities. The RWLF provides low-cost loans for short-term repair costs, small capital projects, or pre-development costs associated with larger projects. It’s the perfect program for projects like Waterwood’s renovation.
“This action will allow our community to move forward, as scheduled, with complete renovation of our wastewater treatment plant,” Perry said in a letter.
FRWA assisted Waterwood with beginning the application process. Perry, who has over 40 years of experience in banking, found the process extremely fast and simple.
“The whole process took less than three weeks,” Perry said. “I can’t praise the organization enough for how easy and quick the process was.
Part of the easy of the process was the support of NRWA and FRWA staff.
”The cooperation of the staff was outstanding,” Perry said. “I would like to give a big thank you for Gloria York for her outstanding customer service: from start to finish, she was a great coach every step of the way.”
The process was so fast and easy, that the community is planning on using the RWLF for other future projects.
“We have a lot that needs to be replaced,” Perry said. “Hopefully we can pay off this loan faster than the ten-year term and we can use the program again.”
The speed and quality of the program was enough for Perry to recommend the RWLF to other utilities looking to finance their projects.
“I would highly recommend the program to other communities,” he said.
“In closing, this entire application process with NRWA has been an excellent experience and going forward, no one will convince me that the association can’t move swiftly through any process,” Perry added.