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Jail project debt likely to exceed $122 million by 2043

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

The cost to pay off the debt for the valley's next regional jail would exceed $122 million, according to a report issued last week.

The Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Authority will have spent that much by 2043 to pay off more than $83 million in loans achieved through bond sales, reports by Davenport & Company show.

The authority expects to receive more than $32 million as a reimbursement from the Virginia Department of Corrections early in the pay-back process. The authority -- funded by the three localities proportionately according to the inmates sent to the jail, as well as from state and federal sources -- would remain responsible for covering the rest of the debt.

Loans taken out by the authority would not appear as debt by the participating localities in their individual budgets. Instead, the amount each locality budgets to run their local jails would go to funding the authority.

The jail authority sought to borrow more than $32 million in bond-sale proceeds through the Virginia Resource Authority. The jail board expects the Virginia Department of Corrections to cover the loan amount -- 50 percent of approximately $65.68 million of the eligible project costs.

Like the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Frederick County, the authority for the RSW jail would divide the operating costs of the facility among the participating localities proportional to the number of inmates each provides.

The amounts spent by each locality on their local jails would instead go to the authority to cover part of the share of the operating costs of the regional facility. The formula calculated and presented in documents given to the authority board last week show the inmate population figures divided for planning purposes as follows: 13.3 percent from Rappahannock, 36.7 percent from Shenandoah and 50.0 percent from Warren.

As the project moves forward, foes of the initiative warn of additional unknown costs associated with the jail above the debt each locality essentially would assume. The materials provided by Davenport to the authority last week show the estimated operating cost of the jail could climb from $9.7 million at the facility's opening in 2015, to $11.6 million by 2021. At the same time, the authority could expect to see $6.8 million to $7.9 million in non-local revenue during that time frame, according to the Davenport documents.

But debts of nearly $190 million loom over Shenandoah and Warren counties even without the loans for the valley's next regional jail. Warren County owed a total of $116.12 million in loans as of the end of the previous fiscal year June 30, 2011, according to County Administrator Douglas Stanley. Shenandoah County had a total loan debt at the end of last fiscal year of more than $70 million, according to Walker.


I wonder if Mr. Walker understands that him wishing to SUE County Tax Payers is like BITING YOUR NOSE OFF TO SPITE YOUR FACE. I hope his bags are packed cause he is moving on! I understand Montgomery County in Maryland is looking for a county administrator with his values.

These unfunded liabilities are the boon of the politicians and the bane of the taxpayer. it is so easy to burden children who can't vote yet with immense debt, courtesy of reckless, self-serving politicians.

When will our local officials stop enriching Richmond bond lawyers and start thinking of the taxpayers here in the Valley whom they "represent"?

Washington is going to pay off its unfunded liabilities by printing monopoly money -- worthless paper that will ruin your savings and the lives of those on fixed incomes.

But local governments can't print their own money. How are they going to pay off their debts?

Guess what -- they aren't. The pol's will be comfortably retired on taxpayer–guaranteed pensions when our children get the bill.

At that point, our children will have to choose between impoverishment and bankruptcy, because of bad choices that were not their fault.

In colonial times, imprudent and profligate types were put in the stocks on the Village Green. Now their pictures go up on the walls of government buildings while they give the taxpayer the bird.

I think it's time for a local Tea Party.

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