By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Efforts to build a regional jail hit a bump Tuesday.
The Virginia Resources Authority did not issue bonds for the project as expected, according to Douglas Stanley, chairman of the board of the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail Authority.
The VRA list of the Virginia Pooled Financing Program made available earlier this month included $45.36 million in bonds for the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail. However, the threat of legal action against the VRA prompted the agency to pull the bond issuance from its spring sale.
Stanley, by e-mail in response to questions about the status of the bonds, stated: "First of all, the Authority Board has been unable to discuss this issue as a body. We have learned that the Virginia Resource Authority (VRA) has received a threat of legal action regarding the financing of the RSW Regional Jail.
Stanley did not provide additional information about the source of the threat or their motives. The RSW jail project has had vocal opponents.
"As a result of this action, and due to the specific timing of the threat, the VRA is currently unable to provide the proper disclosures for the benefit of the bond underwriters and potential bond buyers," Stanley states. "Accordingly, in an effort to mitigate risk to the many participants in the entire Spring Bond Pool, VRA has elected to separate the RSW Regional Jail bonds from the remaining bonds (including Warren County) for purposes of this bond sale. VRA is willing to proceed with a stand-alone bond sale for the RSW Regional Jail Authority with no delays to the construction of the jail. The jurisdictions remain committed to the regional jail project."
The last-minute pull out of the jail bond sale by the VRA took the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors by surprise. Supervisors went into closed session at their meeting Tuesday night to seek advice from legal counsel, County Attorney J. Jay Litten. The board added the matter to the agenda as a closed session discussion based on a motion made by Supervisor Dennis M. Morris. Specifically the motion noted that supervisors planned to seek legal counsel "concerning the county's short-term and long-term rights and expectations under the law with respect to the Regional Jail Authority."
Chairman Conrad A. Helsely said during the break in the meeting before the closed session he had not heard any information about the status of the bond issue. Helsely told reporters he understood the bond sale would take place Tuesday or the following day.
After the closed session Helsley referred questions about the status of the bonds to Stanley and the authority.