FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Marion County coal severance tax is now at the lowest it’s ever been according to the Marion County Commissioners.
The Commission approved the resolution of the severance fund at Wednesday’s meeting which now gives the county nearly $40,000.
The coal severance tax is a fund that is divided among all the counties in West Virginia annually, even if coal isn’t mined in the county. Commissioner Elliott said it’s a very important part of the county’s budget. According to Elliott, the county’s budget is around $17 million. Years ago, the coal severance tax contributed nearly $1.5 million to that but has plummeted in recent years.
“The big money that we were getting for all the 18 years I’ve been here, millions of dollars that we talked about earlier, is gone. It’s gone, and I don’t think it will ever come back,” Elliott said.
The tax drop didn’t come as a surprise to the commission. Elliott said they anticipated it to fall and prepared for it with a financial stabilization fund and are not losing any county services because of it.
“The new Middletown commons, a lot of tax bases there. A lot of things we’ve done in preparation along the I-79 corridor that we have going for us. Our taxable properties have increased. Our taxable properties now, where part of the tax derives from, is the highest it’s ever been,” Elliott said.
This coal severance tax can’t get any lower, according to Elliott.
He said there is speculation about bringing mining back to Marion County at a site northwest of Mannington which would increase the coal severance tax however, nothing is official yet.