The Gibson town commission voted this week to accept a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to buy a new backhoe.
The $26,000 grant will be accompanied by a $25,000 loan, which combined with a $20,000 match by Gibson, will cover the full purchase price.
“This has been a long time coming, I think it’s been about a year; we’ve had to fight real hard to get this grant,” said USDA rural development specialist Larry Sampson, who briefed the board on the terms of the loan during its Thursday meeting. “For the state of North Carolina this year, for my program, I got $34 million in loan funds and $130,000 in grant funds for the entire state.”
The board will also be expected to cover about $5,000 in shipping and taxes associated with the backhoe purchase. The loan will be paid back over 10 years, with annual payments of $2,900, though the board will have the option of paying it off early.
“We’re still saving, paying $45,000 for a roughly $80,000, so we’re getting it for not quite half price,” said Gibson mayor Ronnie Hudson. “Also, at the end of this time, we can sell our old one. I can’t tell you what we’ll get for it, but let’s say we get $10,000 then we’ll turn it in and then we only have $35,000 in to get a new backhoe.”
The board will call a special meeting on Feb. 28 to finalize the grant. That meeting will be held in lieu of the board’s regular March meeting.
In other business, the board also approved an expenditure of $2,241 for a replacement sewer pump for wastewater lift stations. That cost includes local delivery.