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Coal firms are county’s worst tax deadbeats

Letcher County’s local government and two school systems lost huge chunks of their budget last year after the state of Kentucky cut the assessment of unmined minerals, and now they’re losing hundreds of thousands more as coal companies haven’t paid their remaining property taxes.

At least one owes more than $300,000, and others have unpaid tax bills in the tens of thousands of dollars for 2017 alone.

The largest of the delinquent tax holders is Revelation Energy LLC, which owns coal property along Black Mountain, the mining permits for which it is currently attempting to transfer to Blackjewel LLC. According to a delinquent tax list provided to The Mountain Eagle for publication, Revelation owes more than $329,490 in delinquent taxes in Letcher County. Revelation and Blackjewel are both based in West Virginia and are both owned by Jeff Hoops.

Pike-Letcher Land Co., which owns coal properties and other real estate in the Payne Gap and Jenkins areas, has 32 outstanding tax bills totaling more than $54,500.

Kingdom Coal, which bought a tipple at Roxana and a single slope mine in Knott County in 2016, has now idled its operations, reportedly after the belt line in its Defeated Creek mine gave out. According to tax bills, it owes more than $52,200 in delinquent taxes.

Deane Mining LLC, which is also transferring a permit for an 8,700- acre surface mine to itself at another address, is on the delinquent list with an unpaid tax bill of $40,841.

Cumberland River Coal Company, a subsidiary of Arch Mineral, is the fifth largest delinquent property taxpayer. That company owes $29,422, according to the county tax list.

The five coal companies are by far the largest delinquent taxpayers in the county. No other individual’s or company’s delinquent bill reaches $10,000.

The five companies alone owe a total of more than $506,000.

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