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Magoffin to receive coal severance refund

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SALYERSVILLE – While the governor released last week that 27 Eastern Kentucky counties will be receiving coal severance refunds, the Magoffin County judge-executive is trying to find where the money could be best spent.

On February 7 Governor Matt Bevin and the Department of Local Government announced they were returning $1.3 million to the Single County Coal Severance accounts of 27 Eastern Kentucky counties, to be used as needed. 

The money was originally deducted from the same accounts and directed toward the Kentucky Communications Network Authority for community broadband readiness and public computer access initiatives. While $2 million had been taken from Eastern Kentucky, the group used $800,000 before calling it quits on the project, with the remaining funds to go back to the counties.

In total, Magoffin is set to receive $40,543.93. 

The Independent talked to Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matt Wireman on Tuesday this week about the funding.

“There’s a lot of flexibility in it, but it has to be something myself, Representative Blanton and Senator Smith agrees on,” Wireman explained. 

He said he was trying to find the budget shortfalls to identify where the refund could help balance the budget.

“It’s not a lot of money, but it will put a dent in the budget shortfalls,” Wireman said. “Without some changes, there will be a budget shortfall, so I will definitely have to make some changes. We’ll have to cut some stuff out, but I’m not going to rush to make a decision until I know exactly what we need. It will take some time to get everything straightened out, but I will.”

On a related note, Wireman did confirm that he is hiring Kevin Howard as deputy judge, which is a position that has been allocated in the budget. 

“A lot has to be done if we’re going to do it right and we’ve got to do it right,” Wireman said. “I have to keep putting my team together.”
 

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Heather Oney