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Regional jail work moves forward


By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

Construction of the regional jail in Warren County moves forward even as opponents push Shenandoah County leaders to pull out of the project.

Crews with Howard Shockey & Sons of Winchester have been at the site of the future, 375-bed Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail on Winchester Road near Front Royal for several weeks.

The contractor started installing erosion and sediment control devices on the site and cleared areas for stormwater retention basins, according to Douglas Stanley, county administrator for Warren County. Workers installed the construction entrance to the site and Stanley noted passersby likely would see more activity in the next few weeks.

The RSW Regional Jail Authority awarded a $55.57 million contract to Shockey several weeks ago. Documents provided by the authority show an estimated project cost of $65.68 million which would qualify for a 50 percent reimbursement from the state Department of Corrections. Additional costs not eligible for the reimbursement from the state raise the price to $71.28 million.

Financing costs bring the price to an estimated $83.29 million.

"What we know is that the $65 million is what has been approved by the state as being what is eligible [for reimbursement] including that contingency amount of $2 million," Douglas Walker, county administrator for Shenandoah County, said Wednesday, adding that the state budget includes $32.8 million, or half the eligible costs. "That's what we've been saying with regards to the 50 percent of eligible costs and, to us, the math really is the math. There's no other way to do the math as it relates to that issue.

"Now if you start talking about 'well, there are other costs,' that is absolutely true," Walker added.

Non-eligible costs include much of the equipment, vehicles, firearms, furniture and other items needed for the jail, the amounts of which remain estimates.

The authority issued a temporary notice to the contractor to proceed with its work several weeks ago, prior to the sale of bonds sought for the project. The final notice to proceed came when the Virginia Resource Authority closed on the sale of the requested $32 million in bonds less than two weeks ago.

"The contractor mobilized pretty quickly and they've actually been on the site for a couple of weeks now," Walker said. "He has his schedule and he has his contract and we have our money and the project is in progress."

The schedule included in the contract calls for the facility to open July 1, 2014, according to Walker.

The contract includes language which indicates Shockey assumes the risk of running into more rock formations than anticipated and budgeted in the construction cost, Walker explained. The authority did enter a shared risk regarding sinkholes on the site in an effort to secure a better price, according to Walker. But the authority will not see any change orders on rock removal, Walker said.

"They can't come and make a claim to us that we have to pay them to extract additional rock," Walker explained. "If there are errors in the contract documents then we'll have to talk about that."

The authority recently appointed members to serve on a transition committee and the panel's first tasks include discussing the idea of using local jails in Shenandoah and Rappahannock counties as holding areas for inmates, given their distances from the regional facility.

"We're obviously hopeful to have that issue or question kinda come up sooner rather than later cause those are pretty important to understanding what the impact is in our case, for Shenandoah County," Walker said. "Rappahannock County has its own issues and they'll be articulating their interests there."

Warren County Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron chairs that committee, which also has the task of hiring a superintendent ahead of the opening. Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors Chairman Conrad A. Helsley and Sheriff Timothy Carter also serve on the committee.




11 Comments



Why does what we think not count? There has been opposition from the start of the jail project. That's nothing new. That it has gone this far is devastating. The supervisors are supposed to represent us. What will happen to those of us on a fixed income as the taxes continue to rise? Dennis Morris had the courage to stand up for people in his district. What a shame he was the only one.

It is more than just representation. There is something not ‘right’ here. This type of project where taxpayers will be called upon to pony up – Should have been brought up on a vote –

Our so-called county representatives that we voted in are running this county not in a democratic way.

They turn a blind eye to developers mistakes, take no accountability for securing our community and its wellbeing. Most important, this Jail – I did not give them authority to spend without asking.

I am disappointed. I plan to make some calls today. I will start with the Attorney General.

The voters do have a say; if memory serves Cindy Bailey and Mark Prince both ran for the BOS and lost, the voters had their say. Just because people talk loud and often, does not make them the majority.

Please wait two years and when the tax rate has gone from 51 cents per hundred to 71 cents per hundred everyone will feel the tax burden the BOS has placed on the tax payers.
Question the increase? Well the tax rate for next year will go up 8.2 cents minimum next year alone. One may think the Voters have spoken just wait. Your Education is on the way!

Yes, they continue on spending our money as rapidly as they can!

Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Marxism, Socialism,
Germany; Nazism under Hitler,
Italy; Fascism under Mussolini
Russia; Communism under Stalin / Socialism under Karl Marx
Cuba; Communism under Fidel Castro
Vietnam; Communism under Ho Chi Minh
Cambodia; Socialism under Pol Pot who killed off 21% of his population
What do all of these have in common? The answer is the lack of FREE SPEECH and oppression of people who call it the way they see it! I served in the United States Marine Corps to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America which guarantees the right of Free Speech and the right to air your grievances which is what you are trying to stifle.
Helsley/Walker and the rest of the Board that approved the motion to sue peaceful protesters need to go back and refresh your memories about the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Here is a highlight;
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging (restriction of) the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors you have a credibility issue and we are tired of your lying;
Lying As Morris did twice while being deposed under oath about his financial relationships with Maddox.
Lying As you allowed incentives to be offered towards Maddox’s property while he voted in closed sessions on the Economic Development
Lying As you used Maddox’s property as the only site offered for the Regional Jail in Shenandoah County when two were required and as the only site for the REI project.
Lying As you allowed Walkers predecessor, Poling to LIE in court under oath about FOIA Documents that show the placement of a Regional Jail in Toms Brook that he said never existed. Yet, he passed them out at a Regional Jail Committee Meeting.
Lying As you voted to build and finance a new courthouse without a court order like you stated existed, which in fact did not.
Not once have you come out with a statement admonishing their and your actions or put policies in place to prohibit them, so in essence you are condoning and perpetuating these grievous violations.
Now, you have VOTED to SUE citizens in order to scare us and keep us quite while trying to extract some type of revenge. Well this is the second BOGUS suit you have tried to file against me and as you can see “it doesn’t work”. I am not afraid of you and you can’t intimidate me. Though you should be afraid of me because, I am not afraid to expose your dark secrets.
The following is an excerpt from my Letter to the Editor, written when I found out about the suit;
Dear Sir,
I am appalled by the treatment of Mrs. Marsha Shruntz by the Regional Jail Authority Board during their meeting on 6/21/12. Mrs Shruntz, a school bus driver, was threatened by a lawsuit from the Authority for her participation of exercising her constitutional first amendment “right of free speech” by protesting the Regional Jail Bond sale. The protesters, who are trying to stop this $100,000,000 boondoggle, according to the Jail Board will all be sued. I am one of those members and am proud to stand by her to protest what we feel is wrong. I am bringing a suit to challenge the constitutionality of whether the agreements between the Authority and the counties are valid. Remember, they are actually taxing us for a minimum period of 30 years “VA Code” to pay for their facility and operate it without holding a vote “or referendum” by the people for approval as required by the Constitution. I have no problems if a referendum is held and the taxpayers actually vote on it, but our Supervisors are taxing us without representation. The costs are staggering and building as I write this letter. Our government officials traded verbal blows “Helsley and Sheriff Carter” during this meeting about culpability when Helsley surely knows that the Virginia State Police have initiated an investigation into the actions of members of the Authority’s Board and companies sponsoring the jail. So we not only have a constitutional issue, we possibly have 4 Virginia code violations and an ensuing law suit by the Authority who are using my tax dollars to sue me. Ironic isn’t it?
Mark W. Prince
The RSW RJ Authority stated that they lost money on this bond sale because the interest rate went up $50,000 a year and they wanted the protesters to pay this difference because of their actions. This was because the VRA elected to pull the Bonds from the Pool because we informed them that there were numerous justifiable problems with the Regional Jail. What if the Authority would have waited to go into the next pool instead of forcing the VRA into having a standalone sale? What if the interest rate would have gone down $50,000 a year or you built a local jail for millions less. Would we be the recipients of this windfall? NO! They are so eager to place the blame on someone else for their mistakes. This move is just stupidity in abundance by our elected officials or wood be (SERVENTS). Which brings to mind that George Washington signed each letter as President “your faithful servant”, so he knew who was important and that was “The PEOPLE”.
Walker, you need to stand on your own two feet grow a spine and let these supervisors know what’s right and what’s wrong and not VOTE how they tell you to which is what you did. Because, especially in this case where you are violating citizen’s rights, you won’t be around long. Remember you are filing suit against 3 opponents in the next election. It’s easier to sleep at night if you do the right thing and after meeting with you, I thought you were better than this!
Helsley, you told me 5 years ago that you sided with Sheriff Carter about the Jail when I gave you the jail presentation; you then changed sides and didn’t listen. The Sheriff told you he could function with a work release facility for less than two million dollars and you didn’t listen. The Sheriff told you that he could build a local jail for 16 million where you will end up spending about 24 million and additional millions in operating expenses, so you didn’t listen. The Sheriff told you this suit was not what you should be doing and still you don’t listen. We told you not to ignore us and include us in the process, you haven’t and you still aren’t listening. You have trampled our rights and brought discredit upon Shenandoah County by your actions. I am ready to go to your prison if necessary to protect our rights as citizens and will not bend to tyranny; (which is defined as “an oppressive government by one or more people who exercise absolute power cruelly and unjustly”). You will leave the others alone in this fight because I am to blame for everything.
The six who voted to sue can share a cell with me before they are tarred and feathered and sent packing in the next election if you are not recalled before then.
One last question Mr. Helsley., what shall we call your type of government?
Shenandoah County; Conrad Helsley founded Helsleyism! (Sue and imprison people who protest)
Mark W. Prince

SeaLuvr, don't let Dennis Morris fool you. The only reason he voted against the jail is because he was in a tight race for his Board seat. He knew the jail was not popular and that his "no" vote wouldn't matter.

Christina, the fact that Bailey and Prince lost is proof that we need IQ tests for voters and better control of voting machines.

It appears to this disinterested third party observer (me), the bellowing complaints by the Tea Party Crackpot Marching Band (you) is leading absolutely nowhere.

Huh? Whatdidyousay? Maybe it is time to ratchet up the volume? They can't hear you.

ROFLMAO

So, ROFLMAO it is obvious that you are not a disinterested third party because you went to the trouble to read the article and comments and then sign on to make your own comment. I know that you like to hear (see?) yourself talk and I know you have a fondness for ad hominem attacks but there must be more to it than just that. What is your position on the jail? You think it is a good idea? Do think it is a wise use of taxpayer dollars? Do you think it is fine that government employees and elected representatives are trying to bully their constituents into silence? Well, what is it?


So, stubie, I can only guess your definition of 'disinterested third party' is seriously flawed because it includes reading.

So, stubie, are you accusing me of reading? Thems is fightin' words, pardner.

So, stubie, what is my position on the jail? What jail? Can't hear you over all this job site construction noise.

So, stubie, nobody, until you came along, had ever accused me of thinking. I plead not guilty, Your Honor.

So, stubie, are taxpayer dollars ever spent wisely? You have examples?

So, stubie, if you sympathize with the Tea Party Marching Band, you get to live with them, but as for me, I'm going out to shoot fish in a barrel, then have some ice cream. Chocolate. And a beer. Maybe two. Answering third degree questions makes me thirsty.

ROFLMAO

chuckle chuckle giggle giggle guffaw guffaw snicker snicker raspberry from a warm smelly place

OK then. That definitely clears it all up. Glad to hear that you thought it out completely.



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