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Officials worry about dwindling coal severance money

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Communities across Eastern Kentucky rely on coal severance money to fund projects and organizations. Now, one county is seeing a decrease in these funds.

Coal severance money has played an important role in Floyd County for years as Judge Executive R.D. "Doc" Marshall explains, "For almost 40 years now it has been a vital part of projects that can be done in our area that we could not do without it."

With a struggling coal industry, officials are worried about projects and organizations scheduled to be funded with those funds.

As the amount of coal being sold decreases so does the money. Judge Marshall explains, "Without the tonnage that is produced we do not receive the monies we ordinarily would. So as coal goes down, the monies decrease."

Judge Marshall is concerned about organizations that depend on coal severance to keep their doors open. "Vitally depend on coal severance money for projects like our volunteer fire departments, senior citizens centers, and our veterans. To me those are vital components of our county."

Senior Citizens Board Member, Sylvia Marshall explains, "To take away the coal severance takes away one-third of our budget...we wouldn't survive and we would be closing down centers."

For now officials say they will say positive and hope the coal industry will bounce back. Judge Marshall says, "I am going to stay optimistic but I am also going to be realistic if it goes down."

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