Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Decreased Coal Value Hurts Greene County’s Tax Base

Greene County is covered in natural gas drilling rigs. But in an odd twist, the Marcellus Shale boom is indirectly putting a dent in a portion of the county’s tax revenue.

Here’s why: the domestic shale gas boom — specifically the cheap natural gas prices it’s created — has undercut the coal industry. Coal layoffs and reduced production has hurt the value of coal, and as the Observer-Reporter reports, that’s now impacting tax base.

A new report from Greene County’s assessment office claims the total assessed value of the county’s resources has dropped by about $50 million. More from the Observer-Reporter:

The decline in coal values was offset by increases in land value and land improvements; however, those increases were not enough to avoid a 3 percent decline overall in property value for the county this year

…The decrease of $43,902,100 in value included a $49,986,030 reduction in the value of coal, a $663,230 increase in the value of land and a $5,420,700 increase in the value of improvements.

The information is prepared by the assessment office to assist the county and municipalities in preparing their annual budgets, letting local officials know how much revenue will be generated by current or proposed millage rates.

Coal now makes up about 31 percent of the county’s total property valuation. “It was almost 50 percent when I first started here,” said John Frazier, the county’s chief assessor. That was about 17 years ago.

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