VRA worked with three localities in Southside Virginia, Mecklenburg, Brunswick and Dinwiddie Counties, to help fund the Meherrin River Regional Jail, to be located in Brunswick. This is one of a handful of jails financed through VRA since the General Assembly assigned public safety as a project area. Mary Barnes was an instrumental force in VRA's success in implementing the General Assembly's vision of expanding VRA's project areas beyond the original scope of focusing largely on water and sewer projects. It was through her vision and insight that the Virginia Pooled Financing Program exists in its current form today. Thanks to Mary's leadership, VRA now helps local governments finance a much broader range of projects of which the Meherrin Regional Jail is a wonderful example. This initiative shows the ways in which Mary's legacy continues to shape and influence VRA's work.
These three localities, struggling with aging facilities, all faced the need to upgrade their jails, however, their leaders recognized the budgetary challenges of building a separate jail in each county - and out of this challenge was born the idea for a cooperative effort. Additionally, due to crowding in the jails, these local governments also were incurring the additional expense of having to send prisoners to other localities' jails. These jurisdictions recognized the economies of scale of operating one regional jail as opposed to three independent ones.
The regional jail will meet not only the current needs of Brunswick, Dinwiddie and Mecklenburg, but also their future ones as well. The jail will have 400 rated beds, with a capacity for 600 inmates. Furthermore, the design of the construction is expected to allow for future expansion, as needed, to accommodate a total of 1,000 inmates.
VRA financed the long-term debt portion of the project under a 30-year loan for an all-in true interest cost of 4.48%, a very competitive rate allowing these localities to address pressing capital needs in a cost-effective and fiscally-prudent manner. The short-term debt was financed outside VRA for the portion that would be reimbursed by the Department of Corrections.
- Term: 30 years
- All-In True Interest Cost: 4.48%