Letter to the Editor – Truth About Patrick County Debt

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How did the Board of Supervisors bring Patrick County to the brink of bankruptcy: Why did we take on more debt than the people of Patrick can ever pay.

To try to understand why and how the BOS could railroad so much debt without a Public Bond Referendum and a Public Hearing, like most localities, one needs to go back to 2009.

There, one will find the supervisors used a little known tactic called “Lease Revenue Note” to ramrod the $25.5 million school debt through, which unlike standard bonds that require a vote of the people to pass or fail the bonds, along with holding a public hearing.

The Board of Supervisors chose to bypass the taxpayers and use the “Lease Revenue Note.” They were afraid the people would not pass the bond package.

To add to this, the board took on more debt, including: a new jail, water and sewer to Patrick Springs and Stuart.

Below is the current debt with interest:

Patrick County debt in 2007 was $8,234,651. Each year thereafter, the debt grew to reach a level, unheard of in Patrick County.

As of July 1, 2019 the school principal debt stands at 34,141,210.24 plus interest of $23,831,305.

Jail debt totals $7,540,174.38.

Water and sewer project, (which was touted as self-supporting) was refinanced and stands as BB&T debt principal of $8,196,337.66, plus interest of $870,663.32.

Patrick County’s total outstanding debt as of July 1, 2019 is $74,579,690.

The numbers are from certified audits and verified by Donna Shough, Patrick County’s Finance Manager. This total debt does not include the recent (Revenue Anticipation Note) loan of $3,500,000 to use as needed to operate the government.

My understanding is most of the negotiations were backdoor politics! Now you know.

What can one do? Not vote for the same and expect a different outcome! The three that supported all  this debt and the refinancing of the debt (more than once) to reduce payments, are on the board now.  Two are up for reelection.

Roger T. Hayden

Ararat

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