Wood County expects lower coal severance allotment

PARKERSBURG – Wood County is not among the 34 coal-producing counties in West Virginia that will receive additional coal severance tax revenue.

Wood County receives an average coal severance allotment of $220,000 each year from the state in quarterly installments.

“The county commission traditionally uses coal severance funds to purchase vehicles for the sheriff’s department. It varies from year to year. At one time, they purchased 20 or more vehicles, but as the fleet was replenished, the number became less, eight one year, six last year,” said county administrator Marty Seufer.

Wood County officials said they did not receive official written notification of the change, but the state county commission association has been providing information as the effective date drew close.

“We are anticipating less coal severance funds as a result of the new formula, but we don’t have a number yet, the work on the budget is about a month away, so we should have it by then,” Seufer said.

Effective July 1, 2012, an additional 1 percent of the tax attributable to the severance of coal was paid to the 34 coal-producing counties. Effective July 1, 2013, the percentage climbs to 2 percent and it continues to climb 1 percent each year until it reaches the maximum of 5 percent effective July 1, 2016.

According to West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue, while not every county in West Virginia produces coal, all counties receive a portion of the severance tax paid by the coal industry.

Seventy-five of the net proceeds are distributed to coal-producing counties. The remaining 25% of the net proceeds are distributed to all counties and municipalities of the state, based on their population, without regard to coal having been produced in that county until the change went into effect.

The 25 percent distributed to counties and municipalities for January totaled $2,474,615. For April 2012, the total was $2,354,876; June’s total was $2,514,845 and for October 2012, $1,697,688. The 75 percent portion distributed to coal producing counties totaled: $7,423,845; $7,064,629; $7,544,536; $5,091,597. Total funds distributed were: $9,898,460; $9,419,506; $10,059,381, and $6,789,285.

The coal-producing counties with the additional funds they will receive are: Taylor, $72.32; Tucker, $9,560.24; Upshur, $1,964.32; Wayne, $11,767.06; Webster, $8,677.12; Wyoming, $13,100.58; Barbour, $5,053.86; Boone, $49,118.62; Braxton, $1,153.52; Clay, $3,018.01; Fayette, $13,525.44; Grant, $400.10; Greenbrier, $4,880.93; Harrison, $2,053.93; Kanawha, $17,843.17; Lincoln, $6,970.63; Logan, $61,703.94; Marion, $20,625.76; Marshall, $31,229.47; McDowell, $28,505.84; Mercer, $630.41; Mineral, $199.26; Mingo, $23,047.16; Monongalia, $8,496.33; Nicholas, $12,758.26; Ohio, $20,669.38; Raleigh, $35,445.81; Randolph, $549.84; Taylor, $72.32; Tucker, $9,560.24; Upshur, $1,964.32; Wayne, $11,767.06; Webster, $8,677.12; Wyoming, $13,100.58, for a total of $393,021.31.