October 27, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials presented a ceremonial check in the amount of $840,000 to Perry County commissioners during a ceremony yesterday in Uniontown which was presided over by Commissioner Albert Turner Jr. The check represents a Community Facilities Loan to the Black Belt county which will provide long term – low interest financing to pave and improve public roads which are badly in need of repair.
Chris Beeker III, State Director of USDA Rural Development, presented the check to Perry County on behalf of the USDA. “We are happy that the USDA could support and provide economic development in rural Alabama. Today, I am honored to announce that Perry County will use an $840,000 loan to repair and repave roadways throughout the County. This project will help repair roads that were severely damaged due to the occurrence of storms in 2018. Projects like this can only be developed through partnerships like this.” said Becker.
The County was required to secure interim financing, which will be paid off by the Community Facilities Loan once the improvements are complete. Therefore, Perry County issued its State Gasoline Tax Anticipation Warrants, Series 2020. Comer Capital Group (CCG) served as financial advisor to the County and assisted in the sale of the Warrants which were purchased by Citizens Trust Bank (CTB).
Commissioner Cedric Hudson, Chairman of the Perry County Commission said “If you have ever traveled down our roads then you understand what the citizens of Perry County endure. By receiving this loan, we are able to complete this much needed project. Initially we had difficulties receiving approval for a loan, but Comer Capital Group was able to identify Citizen Trust Bank, who was willing to lend to us. We are grateful for our long-term relationship with Comer Capital and we look forward to continuing our relationship with a Black bank like Citizen Trust. It’s a win, win for us all.”
CTB is a black owned bank headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with branch locations in Birmingham and Eutaw, Alabama. Brian Eppenger, Alabama Market President for CTB was present at the ceremony. “We are honored to have this opportunity to serve the citizens of Perry County. We are grateful for the relationship we have with Comer Capital Group and appreciate them for thinking of us. Thanks to USDA’s work in the rural area, this project will help improve the quality of life for citizens living in the blackbelt area. We are looking forward to deepening our relationship with the county.”
Brandon Comer, CCG’s managing partner said “This transaction highlights the critical role black banks play in the sustainability of black communities. Many banks could not look pass the demographics of the County or other concerns, despite the secure nature of the transaction and critical need of the County. But CTB officers rolled up their sleeves and presented the County with competitive terms and ensured the community could address infrastructure in a meaningful way and have safe roads to travel.” Trivia Edwards, an Analyst at CCG expressed “This transaction highlights the importance of unity and partnership in the black community. Everyone was able to work together towards one common goal. This is only the beginning.