Fiscal Court updated on coal severance

Published 9:58 am Friday, April 20, 2018

The Harlan Fiscal Court heard an update concerning coal severance funds during a meeting this week.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley tackled the subject at the meeting’s midpoint.

“As you all know, I’m required by law to present a proposed budget to you by May 1,” Mosley said. “We couldn’t really do anything until we saw what happened in Frankfort with the legislative session.”

Email newsletter signup

Mosley explained the original coal severance proposal was relatively good for coal counties, then went downhill.

“What came out of the Senate was not good, and what came out of committee was devastating,” Mosley said. “If it would have passed, we would have lost about $2.1 million in coal severance funds.”

According to Mosley, lobbying efforts from Harlan County and other coal producing counties made a positive impact.

“It was able to get worked out in a compromise committee,” Mosley explained. “They attached it to a bill to fix the coal severance funding. What passed the House and Senate wasn’t good for us, so they came back and attached it to a bill that restored the funding to a level above what was proposed by the governor and the House. We actually ended up in better shape than we would have been in any of the original proposals.”

Mosley said the bill has not yet been signed.

“We’re still in a holding pattern to make sure that’s not vetoed,” Mosley said. “We’re working on budget numbers, but we’re not able to move forward completely because we don’t know where we’re going to be on coal severance.”

Mosley said the bill has eliminated a requirement that 30 percent of LGEA funds go to the road fund.

“That’s good,” Mosley said. “That will give us some more flexibility with the funds. They also have utilized some of the funds in the coal fields endowment…to make this work out.”

Magistrate David Kennedy asked if the proposal changes the way coal severance money can be used.

“No, it’s similar to how it has been,” Mosley said.

Mosley assured the magistrates he will present them with a budget proposal by May 1.