Kentucky counties get more coal severance say

THE local government bodies of Kentucky are being given the opportunity to have input into the spending of the state’s incoming tax severance awards.

Donna Schmidt

The state’s governor, Ernie Fletcher, said the severance tax revenue funds, totalling $US101 million over the next two years, will be available via a “revamped process” that will allow areas to apply for the funds to finance projects of their choice, according to the Associated Press.

Late last week, the governor said that a change in the process for earmarked funds was required and that financial courts should decide on the projects being chosen for funding.

Fletcher’s decision has been met favourably by county leaders.

Fletcher, who noted the severance funds application process would commence June 1, told the wire service the funds are for infrastructure creation and improvements as well as educational initiatives working in tandem with the state’s economic development efforts.

“Most of the counties that are distressed in the commonwealth [of Kentucky] are coal-producing counties,” he said, adding that he wants local officials to “dream big” for their project funding needs.