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Federal shutdown hitting close to home
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The federal government shutdown could stall a portion of the funding for Warren County School System’s energy savings project. 

According to School Director Bobby Cox, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative has approved a $2 million loan with an interest rate of 1 percent for the Energy Systems Group project. However, that loan originates from the United States Department of Agriculture and parts of the federal government are currently shut down.

“Great news,” said Cox, to members of the county Education Committee on Monday. “On Friday, Caney Fork passed the $2 million loan to the county and the school system, contingent upon the county offering its assurance that the money will flow as we have said it will flow.”

Reassurance is requested in the form of a resolution passed by the Warren County Commission that the county will pay the loan if the school system fails to repay it. Cox says that’s the same process taken by the county to obtain $7.3 million in bonds to pay the bulk of the project. 

“They want the county, as the funding body, to pass a resolution that Caney Fork will get their money to pay USDA back,” said Cox. “Attorney Robert Bratcher is drafting a resolution to that effect that will be on the docket of the County Commission meeting on Jan. 22. It’s the same process that we went through with the bond issue. As soon as we get that back to Caney Fork and the government reopens, we can make the application.”

As claimed by ESG, the savings should be enough to cover the project’s cost. If not, ESG will make up the difference.

Cox reassured commissioners, “This resolution is just saying the county has the ability to stand for the funds, but there are no county funds going into it. The school system will have the funds to pay the note due to the cost savings. If the cost savings aren’t there, ESG will make up the difference.” 

The Warren County Commission will meet for its monthly session Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Its regular meeting night is the third Monday, but Jan. 21 is a holiday.