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County to take on more debt for projects

Shenandoah County can expect to spend more than $21 million to replace the public safety radio system and build a new home for the Sheriff’s Office and the communications department.

Exactly how much the county spends to pay off the debt depends on the chosen financing option, but estimates put the total with interest at $21.48 million to $22.95 million. Additionally, the county would need to increase the real estate tax rate by as little as less than a penny to as much as 2.4 cents.

The Board of Supervisors heard last week from Courtney Rogers, senior vice president with Davenport and Company LLC, who presented information about how the county could finance the projects. The county can finance the projects though tax-exempt bonds, according to Rogers. Davenport recommends that the county participate with the Virginia Resource Authority polled financing program. The loan would be issued as a lease-revenue bond and the county would likely need to post the Sheriff’s Office building and equipment as collateral, according to Davenport. The county’s Industrial Development Authority would issue the financing, Rogers noted.

The county’s overall debt would increase from $36.19 million to $51.67 million based on the addition of approximately $15.48 million for the new projects. The amortization schedule shows the county’s current and proposed debt, including interest, increasing from $42.78 million to $64.27 million. The financing plan shows the county paying off the debt in 2043.

Davenport anticipates that the county could receive the funds needed to move forward on the projects by mid-November.

Supervisors recently awarded a $10.7 million contract to Motorola and Mission Critical Partners to replace the county’s public safety radio system. The county also received bids from three firms competing to build a new facility to house the Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Communications. Lantz Construction of Winchester submitted the apparent low bid of just over $8 million. Davenport’s presentation put the estimated cost of the facility at $10.3 million.

The Sheriff’s Office anticipates using approximately $6 million in asset forfeiture funds – money received through its investigations with federal law enforcement agencies – to cover the bulk of the cost to build a new headquarters.

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