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W.Va. jail construction bond revenues faltering

Feb. 12, 2013 @ 11:46 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's network of regional jails no longer collects enough annual revenues to pay off the bonds that financed their construction.

Jail agency chief Joe DeLong told lawmakers Tuesday that proceeds from court fees have plummeted from $13 million in 2004 to below $8 million last year.

But the agency needs at least $9 million from those revenues to pay bond investors. The shortfall's making the bond insurers nervous.

That may prompt lawmakers to target unpaid fees and citations as a possible alternative. Legislators are drafting a bill that would give people a break on long-overdue traffic tickets. It would also allow counties to go after income tax refunds to collect unpaid fees.

Lawmakers hope to craft a final bill during the first half of the session, which begins Wednesday.