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Regional jail foes reiterate complaints

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Opponents of the area's next regional jail, blamed for derailing the project and driving up the cost, remain safe from civil action -- for now.

The RSW Regional Jail Authority board met in closed session at their regular meeting Thursday to discuss legal advice with their attorney, Bill Hefty, and pending litigation in Shenandoah County Circuit Court filed by project opponent Mark Prince. The board at its last meeting in June asked its attorney to look into legal recourse the authority might take against foes of the project for having spurred the Virginia Resources Authority to pull the project from a bond sale in May. The authority claims the delay caused the VRA to pursue a separate bond sale which resulted in a higher interest rate and, thus, added $1.7 million to the total cost of the project.

The board came out of closed session but took no action. Hefty acknowledged that neither he nor the board has been served Prince's complaint.

"It's a lawsuit against the authority, so we need to discuss it, whether it's been served or not," Hefty said. "It's out there."

As for pursuing legal recourse against the jail foes, Hefty said the board has not yet asked him to move forward.

"I can't talk about what I told them in closed session, but the board would have to take action to file a suit against anybody and they didn't do that," Hefty said.

During the public comment period the board heard from vocal opponents of the project, Cindy Bailey and Prince.

Prince filed a lawsuit in Shenandoah County Circuit Court earlier this month seeking to void the financing for the jail on the grounds that the issue was never put on the ballot as a referendum. Bailey reiterated her concern that the board has not answered several questions she posed regarding the actual cost of the project.

Bailey also directed criticism at Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors Chairman Conrad Helsley Jr. and asked if he had spoken to his colleagues prior to supporting the authority's request of its attorney to look into possible legal recourse against jail opponents. Bailey expressed concern to the board, directed at Shenandoah County County Administrator Douglas Walker, over the fact he voted in favor of the resolution to seek legal recourse against the opponents.

The board, as is practice, did not respond to either speaker's questions or statements.

Also at the meeting, representatives with Patton Harris Rust & Associates showed the board photographs of the mock cells and explained the colors slated for the parts of the jail. Authority board members looked at samples of different kinds of rock and brick which would be used in the construction of the facility.

The board heard from Ted Cole, senior vice president with Davenport & Company, who, at the request of the chairman, again explained the financing and related costs of the project. Cole told the board the authority will have to pay back slightly more than $79 million to the VRA and to SunTrust when taking into consideration the interest on the loans borrowed and the fact the Virginia Department of Corrections will reimburse $32.85 million in certain costs toward the project, according to Cole.


Isn't it so wonderful the way these counties used a "loop hole" in the law to saddle the residents with even MORE taxes?!???!?!?


1. Why were the numbers different for each county when the boards from all three
Counties voted to fund the project?
Rappahannock - $65M from VRA - $32M short term loan for two years.
Shenandoah - $89M
Warren - $45M – long term – 32.8 short term loan. Can you please have the Authority explain these differences?
Doug Stanley, May 31, 2012 explained to the NVD reporter after the meeting “that each locality’s elected bodies approved bond resolutions at different times and none knew the exact cost of the project.”

2. What is the total cost of this project, including interest, architectural fees,
Water, sewer, and I MEAN EVERYTHING.
NEVER ANSWER – But if you read the NVD article “Crews Clear way for construction of new regional jail” dated July 13, 2012, pay attention especially to the paragraph “should workers hit a sinkhole The contractor would contact the design team and the structural engineer with Moseley Architects of Richmond. Experts with the architectural firm then would determine how the contractor would resolve the issue. What a trick play on the part of the authority, huh? Billing the authority through the architects instead of the contractor. Construction costs stay within budget, architectural fees continue to increase. Trouble is no one is watching what the architects are being paid or how often. Thus reason for my second questions which you refuse to answer. The individual county boards and taxpayers have no control over the cost of this project. This fact has been debated from day one and Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors said, “we know what best for you (taxpayers) and we will make the decisions”.
I disagree and will continue to voice my opposition.

3. How much are the three counties willing to pay for this project?
Shenandoah County taxpayers were promised by our board that the total project cost was $68million dollars, as stated in the service agreement. NEVER ANSWERED

So does the RSW Regional jail Authority know the total cost of the project yet?
Did Shen.Co. board member Chairman Helsley and Administrator Walker get approval from the rest of the Shen. Co. board members to vote “yes” to look into suing citizens for speaking out against the jail project? Why did Shen. Co. Chairman Helsley ask Shen. Co. Attorney Mr. Litten to look into suing citizens when the RSW Regional jail Authority directed their attorney Mr. Hefty to perform the same task? Why haven’t you - Chairman Helsley called for a vote to continue with the jail project after finding out we are not receiving 50% funding from the state as the authority agreement states. We all know how the board will vote, but they are afraid, because they know the majority of citizens do not want to participate in the jail project and the board would be asked to vote to withdraw.

Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. You are part of the vocal minority. Just because you and a few others can make a lot of noise, it does not make you a majority. If the people of Shenandoah County were as upset as you would have us believe, those recall petitions would be overflowing with signatures and the lawsuit would have been served. Although why one is dependent on the other escapes my simple mind.

Thanks to you and Mark for keeping me always_amused.

P.S. BTW, unexpected costs in construction are always a possibility. Get over it.

COMPLACENCY and ignorance comes to mind: that's why people can't or won't speak up and that's what these spendthrifts are counting on. It takes a lot of energy to stand up and fight "city hall". Our whole political system is based on it: feed the masses a lot of bull and keep them ignorant.

Cindy and Mark have done their homework and they understand how easy it is to get locked into this kind of stranglehold. We the taxpayers should have a voice in these decision.

Maybe you don't care about another tax burden, but don't speak for others! Let's face it always_amused, we don't know who you are either.

“we know what best for you (taxpayers) and we will make the decisions”.
I disagree and will continue to voice my opposition. .....that is how our democracy works."

You are correct Cindy....that is how our democracy works! We vote in the people to make the decisions! If we don't like their decisions we don't re elect them! You can complain all you want but what you and Mark are doing is running up more money for the citizens of the county's to pay back. You claim to be the majority but I can't see that you are. You can make a lot of noise but when I research your points....they aren't valid. For instance, sink holes are an issue in construction in our area. There is always an unknown factor..and having the architect determine how it is handled is not a tactic! That is the safe and smart way to handle it...that is their job. Construction crews work at the instruction and guidance of an architecture. That is how construction works.

How about you let the citizens of Shenandoah County vote on weather we want you and Mark to continue your crusade? Then we can see what the majority thinks.

Diana, I can now add you to the majority of three. You replied to my post, but never addressed any of the issues I brought up. First, where is the majority that supposedly exists which are opposed to this jail. Second, why are the petitions to recall the BOS not signed? Third, Why is the completion of these petitions tied to the service of the lawsuit.

I am worried about my tax burden. That is why I am a little upset that the bonds for the financing of this jail are going to cost more than they would have without interference.

BTW, the elected officials who asked if there could be legal recourse for citizens exercising their first amendment rights are fools, and you should recall them for that reason.

Yeah lets have A vote since it hasn't happen yet -I truley would like to know how all of Shenandoah county feels about it -1 way or the other --But wait we didn't get that choise now did we ??

How can taxpayers be sued for complaining about something that was forced upon us? We had no vote or say in this jail being built. But look what they are doing, they have already started on it. Because they know they can. When people have no say it is communism. Pure and Simple.

Watch your six, the goose-stepping hammer and sickle commeth................

When are all you folks in Shenendoah County going to realize that the deck is stacked against you. Warren County's county administrator is the chairman of the group, their sherif is the chairman of the committee to hire the jails director. They are so arrogant that they considered and may come back to the desision to take legal action against the citizens for disagreeing with them. I would be afraid that these citizens might be notified by the IRS of the need for a individual audit if these individuals continue to make waves. Get real people and back off so Warren County can get its hard earned revenue that it has worked the other county's to pay for. A question that needs to be answered is who prepared the prepared speech that was read by the Warren County Supervisor regarding the possible legal action against the complaining citizens? This supervisor would not do this on his own without being prompted by some else.

To the few foes that WILL NOT stop the jail from being built... stop being a mouth piece for Tim Carter. We all know that he is behind the noise and we will show OUR thoughts about it during the next Sheriff's election. And get over the fact that you lost a political race. There are plenty more coming up that you can run for and lose!
Like I said, the jail will be built. Get over it.

If you would like a copy of the Petition to remove your Shenandoah County Supervisor please send me an e-mail with your Supervisor's name and district and I will send you one. We just received approval for the Petitions and had to ensure that they were properly written.
Mark Prince
394 Brook Creek Road
Toms Brook, VA 22660

Does anyone have a problem with the location of this facility?
Are the taxpayers to believe this is the best possible site?
We all have probably always wanted such a facility to be situated on a main highway rather than in a more remote location. Right?

Caveman,There are other locations that would have been better, but you have to look deeper into the story. Find out what good old boy of the county benefitted from the purchase of the land. The supervisor of that district did not support this location. There was a similar situation with the new high school and public safety building land deal. The location of all these projects were questionable as compared to other locations available. Remember they don't shoot you when you disagree! They just say that they might take legal action against you for disagreeing.
Now everybody should just chill out and let this jail be built so Warren county can start to receiving the revenue so our taxes will not go up.

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