Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia

Virginia Regional Industrial Facilities Act

§ 15.2-6400. Definitions

As used in this chapter the following words have the meanings indicated:

"Authority" means any regional facility authority organized and existing pursuant to this chapter.

"Board" means the board of directors of an authority.

"Facility" means any structure or park, including real estate and improvements as applicable, for manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, office, or other industrial, residential, recreational or commercial purposes. A facility specifically includes structures or parks that are not owned by an authority or its member localities, but are subject to a cooperative arrangement pursuant to subdivision 13 of § 15.2-6405.

"Governing bodies" means the boards of supervisors of counties and the councils of cities and towns which are members of an authority.

"Member localities" means the counties, cities, and towns, or combination thereof, which are members of an authority.

"Region" means the area within the boundaries of the member localities.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1710; 1999, cc. 540, 804, 820, 837, 882; 2000, cc. 892, 915, 960, 965; 2001, cc. 391, 404; 2003, c. 874; 2004, cc. 603, 640; 2007, cc. 941, 947; 2009, c. 616.

§ 15.2-6401. Findings; purpose; governmental functions

A. The economies of many localities within the region have not kept pace with those of the rest of the Commonwealth. Individual localities in the region often lack the financial resources to assist in the development of economic development projects. Providing a mechanism for localities in the region to cooperate in the development of facilities will assist the region in overcoming this barrier to economic growth. The creation of regional industrial facility authorities will assist this area of the Commonwealth in achieving a greater degree of economic stability.

B. The purpose of a regional industrial facility authority is to enhance the economic base for the member localities by developing, owning, and operating one or more facilities on a cooperative basis involving its member localities.

C. The exercise of the powers granted by this chapter shall be in all respects for the benefit of the inhabitants of the region and other areas of the Commonwealth, for the increase of their commerce, and for the promotion of their safety, health, welfare, convenience and prosperity.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1711.

§ 15.2-6402. Procedure for creation of authorities

The governing bodies of any two or more localities within the region, provided that at least two or more of the localities are cities or counties or a combination thereof, may, in conformance with the procedure set forth herein, create a regional industrial facility authority by adopting ordinances proposing to create an authority which shall (i) set forth the name of the proposed regional industrial facility authority (which shall include the words "industrial facility authority"); (ii) name the member localities; (iii) contain findings that the economic growth and development of the locality and the comfort, convenience and welfare of its citizens require the development of facilities and that joint action through a regional industrial facility authority by the localities which are to be members of the proposed authority will facilitate the development of the needed facilities; and (iv) authorize the execution of an agreement establishing the respective rights and obligations of the member localities with respect to the authority consistent with the provisions of this chapter. However, with regard to Planning Districts 2, 3, 10, 11 and 12, the governing bodies of any two or more localities within the region, provided that one or more of the localities is a city or county, may adopt such an ordinance. Such ordinances shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Upon certification by the Secretary of the Commonwealth that the ordinances required by this chapter have been filed and, upon the basis of the facts set forth therein, satisfy such requirements, the proposed authority shall be and constitute an authority for all of the purposes of this chapter, to be known and designated by the name stated in the ordinances. Upon the issuance of such certificate, the authority shall be deemed to have been lawfully and properly created and established and authorized to exercise its powers under this chapter. Each authority created pursuant to this chapter is hereby created as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth. At any time subsequent to the creation of an authority under this chapter, the membership of the authority may, with the approval of the authority's board, be expanded to include any locality within the region that would have been eligible to be an initial member of the authority. The governing body of a locality seeking to become a member of an existing authority shall evidence its intent to become a member by adopting an ordinance proposing to join the authority that conforms, to the extent applicable, to the requirements for an ordinance set forth in clauses (i), (iii), and (iv) of this section.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1712; 1999, cc. 820, 882; 2000, c. 892; 2001, c. 391; 2002, c. 691; 2006, c. 324; 2018, c. 545.

§ 15.2-6403. Board of the authority

A. All powers, rights and duties conferred by this chapter, or other provisions of law, upon an authority shall be exercised by a board of directors. A board shall consist of two members for each member locality. The governing body of each member locality shall appoint two members to the board. Any person who is a resident of the Commonwealth may be appointed to the board. However, if an authority has only two member localities, the governing body of each locality may appoint three members each. However, in any instance in which the member localities are not equally contributing funding to the authority, and upon agreement by each member locality, the number of appointments to be made by each locality may be based upon the percentage of local funds contributed by each of the member localities. Each member of a board shall serve for a term of four years and may be reappointed for as many terms as the governing body desires. However, the board may elect to provide for staggered terms, in which case some members may draw an initial two-year term. If a vacancy occurs by reason of the death, disqualification or resignation of a board member, the governing body of the member locality that appointed the authority board member shall appoint a successor to fill the unexpired term.

However, with regard to any authority created by Planning Districts 10, 11, and 12, only members of the appointing governing body of each member locality shall be appointed to the board. In the event such board members feel it is necessary to have an odd number of members, they may establish a rotation system that will allow one locality to appoint one extra member to serve for up to two years. Each locality will, in turn, appoint such extra member. Once the cycle is completed, the rotation shall be repeated.

Each member locality may appoint up to two alternate board members. Alternates shall be selected in the same manner as board members, and may serve as an alternate for either board member from the member locality that appoints the alternate. Alternates shall be appointed for terms that coincide with one or more of the board members from the member locality that appoints the alternate. If a board member is not present at a meeting of the authority, the alternate shall have all the voting and other rights of the board member not present and shall be counted for purposes of determining a quorum. Alternates are required to take an oath of office and are entitled to reimbursement for expenses in the same manner as board members.

B. Each member of a board shall, before entering upon the discharge of the duties of his office, take and subscribe to the oath prescribed in § 49-1. Members shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties from funds available to the authority.

C. A quorum shall exist when a majority of the member localities are represented by at least one member of the board. The affirmative vote of a quorum of the board shall be necessary for any action taken by the board. No vacancy in the membership of a board shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the board. The board shall determine the times and places of its regular meetings, which may be adjourned or continued, without further public notice, from day to day or from time to time or from place to place, but not beyond the time fixed for the next regular meeting, until the business before the board is completed. Special meetings of a board shall be held when requested by members of the board representing two or more localities. Any such request for a special meeting shall be in writing, and the request shall specify the time and place of the meeting and the matters to be considered at the meeting. A reasonable effort shall be made to provide each member with notice of any special meeting. No matter not specified in the notice shall be considered at such special meeting unless all the members of the board are present. Special meetings may be adjourned or continued, without further public notice, from day to day or from time to time or from place to place, not beyond the time fixed for the next regular meeting, until the business before the board is completed.

D. Each board shall elect from its membership a chairman for each calendar year. The board may also appoint an executive director and staff who shall discharge such functions as may be directed by the board. The executive director and staff shall be paid from funds received by the authority.

E. Each board, promptly following the close of the fiscal year, shall submit an annual report of the authority's activities of the preceding year to the governing body of each member locality. Each such report shall set forth a complete operating and financial statement covering the operation of the authority during such year.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1713; 1999, cc. 820, 882; 2000, c. 892; 2001, cc. 7, 15, 390, 391; 2002, c. 691; 2006, c. 758; 2014, c. 728.

§ 15.2-6404. Office of authority; title to property

Each board shall maintain the principal office of the authority within a member locality. All records shall be kept at such office. The title to all property of every kind belonging to an authority shall be titled to the authority, which shall hold it for the benefit of its member localities.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1714.

§ 15.2-6405. Powers of the authority

Each authority is vested with the powers of a body corporate, including the power to sue and be sued in its own name, plead and be impleaded, and adopt and use a common seal and alter the same as may be deemed expedient. In addition to the powers set forth elsewhere in this chapter, an authority may:

1. Adopt bylaws, rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this chapter;

2. Employ, either as regular employees or as independent contractors, consultants, engineers, architects, accountants, attorneys, financial experts, construction experts and personnel, superintendents, managers and other professional personnel, personnel, and agents as may be necessary in the judgment of the authority, and fix their compensation;

3. Determine the locations of, develop, establish, construct, erect, repair, remodel, add to, extend, improve, equip, operate, regulate, and maintain facilities to the extent necessary or convenient to accomplish the purposes of the authority;

4. Acquire, own, hold, lease, use, sell, encumber, transfer, or dispose of, in its own name, any real or personal property or interests therein;

5. Invest and reinvest funds of the authority;

6. Enter into contracts of any kind, and execute all instruments necessary or convenient with respect to its carrying out the powers in this chapter to accomplish the purposes of the authority;

7. Expend such funds as may be available to it for the purpose of developing facilities, including but not limited to (i) purchasing real estate; (ii) grading sites; (iii) improving, replacing, and extending water, sewer, natural gas, electrical, and other utility lines; (iv) constructing, rehabilitating, and expanding buildings; (v) constructing parking facilities; (vi) constructing access roads, streets, and rail lines; (vii) purchasing or leasing machinery and tools; and (viii) making any other improvements deemed necessary by the authority to meet its objectives;

8. Fix and revise from time to time and charge and collect rates, rents, fees, or other charges for the use of facilities or for services rendered in connection with the facilities;

9. Borrow money from any source for any valid purpose, including working capital for its operations, reserve funds, or interest; mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the property or funds of the authority; and contract with or engage the services of any person in connection with any financing, including financial institutions, issuers of letters of credit, or insurers;

10. Issue bonds under this chapter;

11. Accept funds and property from the Commonwealth, persons, counties, cities, and towns and use the same for any of the purposes for which the authority is created;

12. Apply for and accept grants or loans of money or other property from any federal agency for any of the purposes authorized in this chapter and expend or use the same in accordance with the directions and requirements attached thereto or imposed thereon by any such federal agency;

13. Make loans or grants to, and enter into cooperative arrangements with, any person, partnership, association, corporation, business or governmental entity in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter, for the purposes of promoting economic and workforce development, provided that such loans or grants shall be made only from revenues of the authority that have not been pledged or assigned for the payment of any of the authority's bonds, and to enter into such contracts, instruments, and agreements as may be expedient to provide for such loans, and any security therefor. The word "revenues" as used in this subdivision includes grants, loans, funds and property, as set out in subdivisions 11 and 12;

14. Enter into agreements with any other political subdivision of the Commonwealth for joint or cooperative action in accordance with § 15.2-1300; and

15. Do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1715; 2002, c. 691; 2003, c. 874.

§ 15.2-6406. Donations to authority; remittance of tax revenue

A. Member localities are hereby authorized to lend or donate money or other property to an authority for any of its purposes. The member locality making the grant or loan may restrict the use of such grants or loans to a specific facility owned by the authority, within or without that member locality.

B. The governing body of the member locality in which a facility owned by an authority is located may direct, by resolution or ordinance, that all tax revenue collected with respect to the facility shall be remitted to the authority. Such revenues may be used for the payment of debt service on bonds of the authority and other obligations of the authority incurred with respect to such facility. The action of such governing body shall not constitute a pledge of the credit or taxing power of such locality.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1716; 2004, cc. 42, 603, 640.

§ 15.2-6407. Revenue sharing agreements

A. Notwithstanding the requirements of Chapter 34 (§ 15.2-3400 et seq.), the member localities may agree to a revenue and economic growth-sharing arrangement with respect to tax revenues and other income and revenues generated by any facility owned by an authority or a facility owned by a non-authority utilized as part of a cooperative arrangement entered into by an authority promoting economic and workforce development. Such member localities may be located in any jurisdiction participating in the Appalachian Region Interstate Compact or a similar agreement for interstate cooperation for economic and workforce development authorized by law. The obligations of the parties to any such agreement shall not be construed to be debt within the meaning of Article VII, § 10 of the Constitution of Virginia. Any such agreement shall be approved by a majority vote of the governing bodies of the member localities reaching such an agreement but shall not require any other approval.

B. With any such revenue and economic growth-sharing arrangement entered into by localities, the Department of Taxation's calculation of true values as applied to the Commonwealth's composite index of local ability-to-pay shall take into account an agreement whereby a portion of real property tax revenue is initially paid to one locality and redistributed to another locality. Such calculation shall properly apportion the percentage of tax revenue ultimately received by each locality. Each participating locality shall include in reports to the Department of Taxation of its taxable real estate the apportioned fair market value of the property upon which such revenue sharing is based. The Department of Taxation shall collect annually, from each participating locality, the taxable real estate value used to determine and apportion the fair market value of the property adjustments upon which such revenue sharing is based.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1717; 2007, cc. 941, 947; 2019, c. 534; 2022, cc. 230, 231.

§ 15.2-6408. Applicability of land use regulations

In any locality where planning, zoning, and development regulations may apply, an authority shall comply with and is subject to those regulations to the same extent as a private commercial or industrial enterprise.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1718.

§ 15.2-6409. Bond issues; contesting validity of bonds

A. An authority may at any time and from time to time issue bonds for any valid purpose, including the establishment of reserves and the payment of interest. In this chapter, "bonds" includes notes of any kind, interim certificates, refunding bonds, or any other evidence of obligation.

B. The bonds of any issue shall be payable solely from the property or receipts of the authority, including, but not limited to:

1. Taxes, rents, fees, charges, or other revenues payable to the authority;

2. Payments by financial institutions, insurance companies, or others pursuant to letters or lines of credit, policies of insurance, or purchase agreements;

3. Investment earnings from funds or accounts maintained pursuant to a bond resolution or trust agreement; and

4. Proceeds of refunding bonds.

C. Bonds shall be authorized by resolution of an authority and may be secured by a trust agreement by and between the authority and a corporate trustee or trustees, which may be any trust company or bank having the powers of a trust company within or without the Commonwealth. The bonds shall:

1. Be issued at, above, or below par value, for cash or other valuable consideration, and mature at a time or times, whether as serial bonds or as term bonds or both, not exceeding forty years from their respective dates of issue;

2. Bear interest at the fixed or variable rate or rates determined by the method provided in the resolution or trust agreement;

3. Be payable at a time or times, in the denominations and form, and carry the registration and privileges as to conversion and for the replacement of mutilated, lost, or destroyed bonds as the resolution or trust agreement may provide;

4. Be payable in lawful money of the United States at a designated place;

5. Be subject to the terms of purchase, payment, redemption, refunding, or refinancing that the resolution or trust agreement provides;

6. Be executed by the manual or facsimile signatures of the officers of the authority designated by the authority, which signatures shall be valid at delivery even for one who has ceased to hold office; and

7. Be sold in the manner and upon the terms determined by the authority including private (negotiated) sale.

D. Any resolution or trust agreement may contain provisions which shall be a part of the contract with the holders of the bonds as to:

1. Pledging, assigning, or directing the use, investment, or disposition of receipts of the authority or proceeds or benefits of any contract and conveying or otherwise securing any property rights;

2. Setting aside loan funding deposits, debt service reserves, capitalized interest accounts, cost of issuance accounts and sinking funds, and the regulation, investment, and disposition thereof;

3. Limiting the purpose to which, or the investments in which, the proceeds of the sale of any issue of bonds may be applied and restrictions to investments of revenues or bond proceeds in government obligations for which principal and interest are unconditionally guaranteed by the United States of America;

4. Limiting the issuance of additional bonds and the terms upon which additional bonds may be issued and secured and may rank on a parity with, or be subordinate or superior to, other bonds;

5. Refunding or refinancing outstanding bonds;

6. Providing a procedure, if any, by which the terms of any contract with bondholders may be altered or amended and the amount of bonds the holders of which must consent thereto, and the manner in which consent shall be given;

7. Defining the acts or omissions which shall constitute a default in the duties of the authority to bondholders and providing the rights of or remedies for such holders in the event of a default which may include provisions restricting individual right of action by bondholders;

8. Providing for guarantees, pledges of property, letters of credit, or other security, or insurance for the benefit of the bondholders; and

9. Addressing any other matter relating to the bonds which the authority determines appropriate.

E. No member of an authority, member of a board, or any person executing the bonds on behalf of an authority shall be liable personally for the bonds or subject to any personal liability by reason of the issuance of the bonds.

F. An authority may enter into agreements with agents, banks, insurers, or others for the purpose of enhancing the marketability of, or as security for, its bonds.

G. A pledge by an authority of revenues as security for an issue of bonds shall be valid and binding from the time the pledge is made.

The revenues pledged shall immediately be subject to the lien of the pledge without any physical delivery or further act, and the lien of any pledge shall be valid and binding against any person having any claim of any kind in tort, contract or otherwise against an authority, irrespective of whether the person has notice.

No resolution, trust agreement or financing statement, continuation statement, or other instrument adopted or entered into by an authority need be filed or recorded in any public record other than the records of the authority in order to perfect the lien against third persons, regardless of any contrary provision of public general or local law.

H. Except to the extent restricted by an applicable resolution or trust agreement, any holder of bonds issued under this chapter or a trustee acting under a trust agreement entered into under this chapter, may, by any suitable form of legal proceedings, protect and enforce any rights granted under the laws of Virginia or by any applicable resolution or trust agreement.

I. An authority may issue bonds to refund any of its bonds then outstanding, including the payment of any redemption premium and any interest accrued or to accrue to the earliest or any subsequent date of redemption, purchase or maturity of the bonds. Refunding bonds may be issued for the public purposes of realizing savings in the effective costs of debt service, directly or through a debt restructuring, for alleviating impending or actual default and may be issued in one or more series in an amount in excess of that of the bonds to be refunded.

J. For a period of thirty days after the date of the filing with the circuit court having jurisdiction over any of the political subdivisions that are members of the authority and in which the facility or any portion thereof being financed is located a certified copy of the initial resolution of the authority authorizing the issuance of bonds, any person in interest may contest the validity of the bonds, the rates, rents, fees and other charges for the services and facilities furnished by, for the use of, or in connection with, the facility or any portion thereof being financed, the pledge of revenues pledged to payment of the bonds, any provisions that may be recited in any resolution, trust agreement, indenture or other instrument authorizing the issuance of bonds, or any matter contained in, provided for or done or to be done pursuant to the foregoing. If such contest is not given within the thirty-day period, the authority to issue bonds, the validity of any other provision contained in the resolution, trust agreement, indenture or other instrument, and all proceedings in connection with the authorization and the issuance of the bonds shall be conclusively presumed to have been legally taken and no court shall have authority to inquire into such matters and no such contest shall thereafter be instituted.

Upon the delivery of any bonds reciting that they are issued pursuant to this chapter and a resolution or resolutions adopted under this chapter, the bonds shall be conclusively presumed to be fully authorized by all the laws of the Commonwealth and to have been sold, executed and delivered by the authority in conformity with such laws, and the validity of the bonds shall not be questioned by a party plaintiff, a party defendant, the authority, or any other interested party in any court, anything in this chapter or in any other statutes to the contrary notwithstanding.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1719; 2002, c. 691.

§ 15.2-6410. Investments in bonds

Any financial institution, investment company, insurance company or association, and any personal representative, guardian, trustee, or other fiduciary, may legally invest any moneys belonging to them or within their control in any bonds issued by an authority.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1720.

§ 15.2-6411. Bonds exempt from taxation

An authority shall not be required to pay any taxes or assessments of any kind whatsoever, and its bonds, their transfer, the interest payable on them, and any income derived from them, including any profit realized in their sale or exchange, shall be exempt at all times from every kind and nature of taxation by this Commonwealth or by any of its political subdivisions, municipal corporations, or public agencies of any kind.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1721.

§ 15.2-6412. Tax revenues of the Commonwealth or any other political subdivision not pledged

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing the pledging of the faith and credit of the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any of its revenues, or the faith and credit of any other political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any of its revenues, for the payment of any bonds issued by an authority.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1722.

§ 15.2-6413. Forms of accounts and records; audit of same

The accounts and records of an authority showing the receipt and disbursement of funds from whatever source derived shall be in such form as the Auditor of Public Accounts prescribes, provided that such accounts correspond as nearly as possible to the accounts and records for such matters maintained by corporate enterprises. The accounts and records of an authority shall be subject to audit pursuant to § 30-140, and the costs of such audit services shall be borne by the authority. An authority's fiscal year shall be the same as the Commonwealth's.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1723.

§ 15.2-6414. Tort liability

No pecuniary liability of any kind shall be imposed on the Commonwealth or on any other political subdivision of the Commonwealth because of any act, agreement, contract, tort, malfeasance or nonfeasance by or on the part of an authority, its agents, servants or employees.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1724.

§ 15.2-6415. Dissolution of authority

A member locality of an authority may withdraw from the authority only (i) upon dissolution of the authority as set forth herein, or (ii) with the majority approval of all other members of such authority, upon a resolution adopted by the governing body of a member locality and after satisfaction of such member locality's legal obligations, including repayment of its portion of any debt incurred, with regard to the authority, or after making contractual provisions for the repayment of its portion of any debt incurred, with regard to the authority, as well as pledging to pay general dues for operation of the authority for the current and succeeding fiscal year following the effective date of withdrawal. No member seeking withdrawal shall retain, without the consent of a majority of the remaining members, any rights to contributions made by such member, to any property held by such authority or to any revenue sharing as allowed by §§ 15.2-6406 and 15.2-6407. Upon withdrawal, the withdrawing member shall also return to the authority any dues or other contributions refunded to such member during its membership in the authority. Whenever the board determines that the purpose for which the authority was created has been substantially fulfilled or is impractical or impossible to accomplish and that all obligations incurred by the authority have been paid or that cash or a sufficient amount of United States government securities has been deposited for their payment, or provisions satisfactory for the timely payment of all its outstanding obligations have been arranged, the board may adopt resolutions declaring and finding that the authority shall be dissolved. Appropriate attested copies of such resolutions shall be delivered to the Governor so that legislation dissolving such authority may be introduced in the General Assembly. The dissolution of an authority shall become effective according to the terms of such legislation. The title to all funds and other property owned by such authority at the time of such dissolution shall vest in the member localities which have contributed to the authority in proportion to their respective contributions.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1725; 2010, c. 531.

§ 15.2-6416. Chapter liberally construed

This chapter, being necessary for the welfare of the Commonwealth and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effect the purposes thereof.

1997, cc. 276, 587, § 15.1-1726.