W.Va. counties and cities share more than $13 million
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia oil and natural gas industry paid more than $188.3 million in severance taxes in 2014, more than doubling the $79.2 million paid in 2013, according to a review of information provided by West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue and the State Treasurer’s Office.
Ninety percent (90%) of the natural gas severance taxes collected are allocated to the State. The remaining 10 percent is distributed two ways – 75 percent is dispersed to gas-producing counties, and the other 25 percent is distributed to all counties and municipalities.
“The doubling of severance tax receipts helped the state of West Virginia balance its 2014 budget and provided needed revenue to county and city governments,” said Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. “The local funds are used to support vital public services – everything from local emergency responders, community projects and social programs.”
Bob Gorby, president of Wetzel County Commission, said, “Six or seven years ago, Wetzel County was classified as a depressed county. With the additional resources made available by the gas industry severance tax revenue, we are able to provide additional services to Wetzel County citizens. As a result, we are no longer listed as a depressed county.”
According to the STO, more than $13 million in severance tax payments were made to counties and cities in 2014 during an October distribution.
Four counties received more than $1 million in payments from the fund: Harrison – $1,945,355.08; Wetzel – $1,666,244.49; Doddridge – $1,255,323.42; and Marshall – $1,114,206.85.
Other counties receiving significant severance distribution include, Ohio, $680,626.00; Kanawha, $555,169.00; and Ritchie $395,852.49.
Severance to cities is based on population, so Charleston at $93,419.92, Huntington at $82,176.82, Parkersburg at $57,236.98, Morgantown at $53,907.30 and Wheeling at $51,271.91 received the largest portion of those revenues.WVONGA provided regional breakdown the severance payments:
Local governments in five Northern Panhandle cities and counties received a total of more than $3.8 million in gas severance taxes distributed in 2014:
— Counties: Wetzel County, $1,666,244.49; Marshall County, $1,114,206.85; Ohio County, $680,626.15; Brooke County, $342,633.48, and Hancock County $55,827.45.
— Cities: Wheeling, $51,271.91; Moundsville $16,935.55; New Martinsville, $9,752.74; and Weirton $7,304.56.
Local governments in seven North Central counties received more than $4.11 million in gas severance taxes distributed in 2014:
— Counties: Harrison County, $1,945,335; Doddridge County $1,255,323.42; Marion County $324,810.71; Monongalia County $292,717.58; Lewis County, $156,218.89; Preston County, $90,717.79; and Braxton County, $46,431.59.
— Cities: Morgantown, $53,907.30; Fairmont, $33,994.66; Clarksburg, $30,130.64; $14,810.89; Pleasant Valley, $5,723.33, Mannington, $3,749.51.Local governments in six Mid-Ohio Valley counties received more than $1 million in gas severance taxes distributed in 2014:
— Counties: Ritchie County $395,852.49; Tyler County, $345,436.61; Wood County, $170,753.30; Jackson County, $115,612.20; Pleasants County, $29,725.03; and Wirt County, $29,192.90.
— Cities — Parkersburg, $57,236.98, Vienna, $19,536.39; Ravenswood, $7,044.66; and Ripley, $5,910.54.
Local governments in five Eastern Panhandle West Virginia counties received more than $400,000 in gas severance taxes distributed in 2014:
— Counties: Berkeley County, $189,328.02; Jefferson County, $97,233.01; Mineral County, $51,274.74; Hampshire County, $43,554.76; and Morgan County, $30,957.62.
— Cities: Martinsburg, $31,310.23; Keyser, $9,885.43; Ranson, $8,069.73; and Romney. $3,358.74.
The increase in the oil and natural gas severance taxes, Demarco said, is a direct result of increased production in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, which are estimated to contain more than 100 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.
“These numbers represent just one small part of the natural gas industry’s impact in this region,” said DeMarco. “The industry’s impact can be felt through the thousands of good paying jobs, support for local businesses and increase in mineral property values.”