HAZARD — The Perry County Fiscal Court presented two advances to organizations in the county using money county funds, but will be reimbursed from coal severance.
Due to the slowdown of the coal industry and the subsequent slowdown of taxable income from the coal industry, several 2012 coal severance allocations will have to wait until 2013. While this money is still expected to arrive, the uncertainty and delay has created some problems for local organizations that depend on this money.
One such organization is the Corner Haven Homeless Shelter, run by Community Ministries. The shelter was forced to operated on an emergency basis earlier this year after financial problems meant the organization could not afford to keep it open full time.
Jennifer Weeber, with Community Ministries, went to the fiscal court and asked for help to reopen the shelter, and the court agreed to give an advance of $10,000 that would later be paid back to the general fund when the $50,000 of coal severance allocated to the shelter came in.
Community members also stepped up and donated $50,000 to reopen the shelter on Nov. 7. The will remain open throughout the winter, and will be receiving the last $40,000 of coal severance after the first of the year.
Another organization to receive an advance from the fiscal court was Perry County Drug Court. Drug court works to help people convicted of drug-related crimes become clean and sober members of society through counseling, drug testing, education, and volunteer work. Money given to the organization funds many different programs to including helping the families of the recovering addicts.
The fiscal court gave drug court $5,000, and like the homeless shelter this money will be reimbursed when the coal severance funds arrive.
Perry County Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble said that the uncertainty of the coal industry has made him make significant changes in the county’s budget. However, he said he made sure that even if the coal severance money for these organizations does not come in, the county will still be able to absorb the costs of these advances.
“We decided it was important for these two projects to be funded,” said Noble.