The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 14, 2012

Commission eyes funding possibilities for projects

By Mary Catherine Brooks
Wyoming County Bureau Chief

— Funding sources and various options for infrastructure projects were discussed during the Wyoming County Commission’s most recent meeting.

David Cole, of Region I Planning and Development Council, told commissioners they should meet soon to prioritize the various projects in different stages of development across the county.

He noted different projects within the county are competing for the same funds in some instances.

“Instead of having five or six pots on the top of the stove and none of them boiling, you may need to boil some of them off,” Cole said.

Commissioners did take another step toward providing water to 43 homes along Main Huff, near the Logan County line, as part of an extension project from the Logan County Public Service District.

“We have available right now $306,000 in waste coal money,” Silas Mullins, commission president, said.

As a result of technological developments, coal material contained in some refuse or gob piles, known as “waste coal,” in West Virginia can now be recovered “to produce saleable clean coal.” This product is subject to an annual tax and distributed to the counties in which the sources of waste coal are located. The money can only be used to fund infrastructure projects, according to officials.

Wyoming County will be paid $340,022.50 in waste coal funds for Fiscal Year 2012, according to officials.

The commission initially planned to use “waste coal” money in addition to funding from the state Infrastructure Council, Mullins said.

However, it would cost the county nearly $50,000 to prepare an application packet for the Infrastructure Council and they only expect to receive $50,000 in grant funding — if the application were to be approved.

“You’re going to spend the grant to get the grant, then bring strings in that you don’t have now,” Cole said of the Infrastructure Council proposal.

Logan County PSD will construct the project, according to Mullins.

Officials believe the design and permit processes could be completed in time so that construction could begin next year, late in the construction season.

Spending the $300,000 on the Cyclone water project will leave about $40,000 for other projects, according to officials.

“This is doable,” Mullins emphasized. “We have the funding to do this within our grasp.

“I’ll tell you what I don’t want to see happen. I don’t want to see what money we have — a little bit goes here, another little bit goes here — and our money is gone, but we have nothing in the ground.”

— E-mail: mcbrooks@register-herald.com