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Official in Warren questions support from Shenandoah

Stanley says he 'needs to know' if county is committed to joint lockup

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The Warren County Board of Supervisors is questioning the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors' commitment to a proposed regional jail.

In a Thursday letter to Shenandoah County Administrator Vince Poling, Warren County Administrator Douglas P. Stanley says the Warren County Board of Supervisors "needs to know" if its counterpart in Shenandoah County still wishes to pursue a jail with Warren and Rappahannock counties.

"Based on recent articles in the Northern Virginia Daily ... we are concerned about Shenandoah County's commitment for this project," Stanley's letter says.

Shenandoah County District 6 Supervisor Conrad Helsley read the letter aloud during the supervisors' property and public works committee meeting Thursday.

At the supervisors' public safety and code committee meeting at the end of April, Board of Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson said he was concerned about moving forward on the project given the continued opposition of Sheriff Timothy C. Carter.

Carter has said he could build a local jail for less than the $18.3 million cost projected by Moseley Architects. He has said he doesn't trust figures and estimates provided by Moseley and by Davenport and Co., which he says have been skewed in favor of a regional jail.

Additionally, Carter opposes giving up local control, and has stressed he believes that the state is unable to provide 50 percent of the costs of building a regional jail, something the supervisors have been banking on. He has suggested temporary solutions to overcrowded jail conditions while the county explores its options.

Moseley projects Shenandoah County's share of a regional jail at about $10.4 million, if the state chips in half the construction costs. If not, the figure is closer to $21 million.

Poling had asked the public safety committee whether it wished to pay a $19,000 share towards the cost of having Moseley Architects update several plans in time to be submitted to the General Assembly to request funding. The committee passed that question on to the full board -- which meets Tuesday morning -- with no recommendation, and asked Carter to bring alternatives to local or regional jail construction to the next committee meeting May 26.

Warren and Rappahannock counties both wish to continue to pursue a joint lockup, Stanley's letter says. In fact, the Warren County Board of Supervisors plans to select a site at its May 19 meeting, and agree on an option agreement for it, it says.

Stanley's missive says that his board is considering three jail locations, one in Front Royal and two in the U.S. 340-522 corridor.

"The most significant hurdle that we have faced is trying to locate a jail site that meets the established criteria for location, access and infrastructure and that is a politically acceptable location for the host locality," it says. "The last factor has certainly been the most challenging to date."

The letter says a site must be selected this month if the project is to be submitted to legislators this fall.

Shenandoah County District 4 Supervisor Sharon Baroncelli pointed out that the board is being asked to make a decision before Carter addresses the public safety committee.

"So, you all are planning on making a decision without knowing the alternatives that he's proposing?" she asked.

Ferguson said that was a separate issue from deciding whether to commit to the $19,000.

"But, I don't think we can close either door at this time," he said.

Baroncelli said that if the supervisors decide to pursue the land option, the alternatives would no longer exist.

District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris said Warren County only plans to put an option on the property, and the supervisors don't know whether they'll get funding from the state. He said they wouldn't know that until next March.

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