Julia Roberts Goad
PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Legislation introduced by a Perry County representative is pending in Frankfort would bring more coal severance money back to Pike County.
The coal severance program currently allocates half of the revenues to the general fund, to be used by all the counties in the Commonwealth. The remaining 50 percent is split between the Local Government Assistance Fund, which gets 15 percent, and the Local Government Government Economic Development fund, 35 percent.
Under the provisions of the legislation proposed by Fitz Steele, all revenues would be distributed to the Economic Assistance Fund.
The fiscal impact of the bill would range from “significant to substantial, depending and the amount of coal severed from that county.”
Counties that are large producers of coal, such as Pike, would receive a greater amount of revenues.
Field representatives from Sen. Rand Paul’s office, Rep. Hal Rogers’ office and Gov. Steve Beshear’s office met with Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford to discuss several projects, some ongoing and some on the drawing board, in regard to housing, infrastructure and economic development.
“Talk about future of the county,” Rutherford said. “I emphasized to representatives we the only money that has come back to Pike County for jobs was the money the Governor had sent to Fishtrap. I think it is very brave of Fitz Steele to introduce this bill.”
Rutherford said when Paul Patton was governor, Pike County received 50 percent of the coal severance funds it sent to Frankfort. But now, the county only receives 12 percent.
“Greedy governors and greedy legislators have taken the future of our children by taking our money and spending it in the rest of state,” Rutherford said. “I will testify with Fitz Steele that the money needs to come back to the county. Its time the legislature turns the money back over to the counties, we need that money to come back, they don’t need to take our money.”