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New budget includes projects here

Water projects to get majority of $6.4 million in severance funds

Over $6.4 million in coal severance funds will flow into Letcher County under the state budget plan approved last week, said Senator Johnny Ray Turner, D-Drift.

The funds will be spent on a variety of needs including public safety, recreation, economic development, and sewer and water concerns.

“Coal severance tax revenue is used for basic improvements throughout Kentucky, particularly in rural areas,” Turner said. “I am extremely proud of these projects because they will improve the quality of life in Letcher County.”

The coal severance tax is 4.5 percent levied on every ton of coal mined in Kentucky. Turner said legislators in both the Senate and House worked hand-inhand with County Judge/Executive Jim Ward and Letcher County magistrates in targeting projects for the coal severance dollars.

Letcher County Fiscal Court will receive $3.07 million for water and sewer projects, but others will be named after April 15. Funds already designated include the following:

• Knott County Interconnect/ Highway 1410 water project, $1 million;

• Millstone Water Project, $750,000;

• Highway 160 – Premium Water Project, $500,000;

• Pert Creek/Pine Creek/Cram Creek Water Project, $500,000;

• Letcher County Sanitation Department, $200,000;

• Highway 119 – Mayking/ Payne Gap Water Project, $250,000;

• Fields Cliff Water Line Extension, $70,000, and

• Fleming/Neon Water line upgrades, $50,000.

The budget allocates $980,000 for centers for senior citizens, women and domestic violence victims. The Letcher County Senior Citizens Centers will receive $300,000 for improvements and operations. Other monies include Blackey Community Center, $150,000; Kingdom Come School (future community center), $150,000; Appalachian Regional Hospital Women’s Center, $100,000; Letcher County Domestic Violence Center, $100,000; Letcher Community Centers, $100,000; Appalachian Area Early Child Care Development Center, $50,000; Hemphill Community Center, $20,000, and Cowan Community Action Group, $10,000.

Local fire departments and law enforcement will receive $515,000. A new fire-training center proposed for Neon will get $200,000 for the construction. Other allocations include: $200,000 for Letcher County fire departments; $60,000 for the Letcher County Sheriff’s Department; $40,000 for the Campbell’s Branch Fire Department, and $15,000 for city police departments.

Allocations for recreation and tourism will be $910,000. Funding includes Appalshop, $25,000; Coal Miner Memorial Museum, $20,000; and the severance funds

Letcher County Veterans Museum, $50,000. A World War II monument and Letcher County Tourism each will get $50,000.

Recreation allocations include funds for improvements for various parks as well as $200,000 for Fishpond Lake. Letcher County Parks and Recreation will get $125,000 for lights at the park across from the Whitesburg hospital. Letcher County Parks and Recreation will get $250,000 in allocations. Little Shepherd Amphitheater will receive $100,000. Tim Hall Park at Fleming-Neon will get $40,000.

The Letcher County Animal Shelter and the Letcher County Health Department will receive $300,000 and $200,000 respectively. County libraries will receive $100,000. The county clerk’s office and Property Valuation Administration office will each receive $30,000. The Letcher County Planning Commission will receive $50,000.

The budget also includes $15,000 for construction of a bridge at Fleming-Neon.

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