The Ringgold City Council and other city government officials held a special called meeting on Thursday, May 7, to discuss a USDA loan the city will be taking out to aid in the purchase of two new patrol vehicles for the city’s police department.

Jack Stanek, a community progress director for the USDA and the assistant to the state director of the USDA, joined the meeting, along with Hope Williams, a loan specialist in the state office who took over the project to get it ready for the city, joined City of Ringgold officials for the meeting, which was live-streamed and can be seen on the city’s website (

The majority of the meeting was to go over a letter of conditions, a document pertaining to the loan itself, that the USDA uses to satisfy the funds that the city has requested for the vehicles.

The loan will be for an amount of $62,600, along with a $25,000 grant, which will be used to purchase the vehicles. The loan will be repaid over a period of five years at a current interest rate of 2 3/8% for an annual installment of $13,427. The city is not putting in any other money for the purchases and money to pay back the loan will come from the city’s general fund.

The current interest rate is fixed and cannot be increased, although the city would receive a lower interest rate if the rate were to drop lower than 2 3/8% before the date of the closing of the loan.

In addition to principal and interest payment, Stanek said the city is also required by the USDA to establish a debt service reserve account. The city will deposit 10% of its annual payment into the account to build up a fund for repaying the loan in the event that there is a shortfall in city funds. This reserve account can also be paid monthly.

Security for the loan will be a promissory note and liens on the titles of the vehicle. The USDA will retain the liens until the loan is paid in full.

The motion to adopt the letter of conditions passed unanimously.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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