MOUNDSVILLE - Marshall and Ohio counties have received their first payments from West Virginia's new Local Coal County Reallocated Severance Tax Fund, and Marshall County got the largest check in the state.
Marshall County commissioners announced Tuesday that the county received $148,288 for the period from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
"We're getting close to Logan County as far as coal production," Commissioner Don Mason said. "For this quarter, we had more than anybody. ... We'll be getting somewhere near that for every quarter."
Ohio County was the only other county in the Northern Panhandle to get money from the Local Coal County Reallocated Severance Tax Fund. It received $58,681. A total of 27 of West Virginia's 55 counties were awarded dollars from the fund.
The Local Coal County Reallocated Severance Tax Fund was established in August 2011 with the West Virginia Legislature's passage of Senate Bill 1002 during a special session. Under the legislation, the first 5 percent of severance tax revenues paid by coal operators to the state will be deposited into the Local Coal County Reallocated Severance Tax Fund and distributed to the state's coal-producing counties.
The dollars must be used by the counties for economic development and infrastructure improvements, the legislation states.
Other coal-producing counties receiving more than $100,000 from the fund were Boone County at $142,380; Marion County at $129,623; and Logan County, $118,011.
In other matters, commissioners spent much of Tuesday hearing concerns brought by residents about how their property taxes are being affected by mineral rights they own.
Seventeen parties were scheduled to speak before the commissioners and the state Board of Review and Equalization - consisting of attorneys from the West Virginia Tax Office and County Assessor Christopher Kessler. Many of those speaking told the board their most recent property tax bills were significantly higher than in past years despite the fact that gas wells on their property were no longer in operation, and they asked why that was the case.
Those voicing complaints were informed the property tax bills they received actually run two years behind, and the bills they most recently received were based on assessments performed in 2011 when their wells were still in operation.