County, towns collected $77K in gas severance revenue

CHARLES TOWN — Even though there is no oil or gas produced in Jefferson County, the county and its five municipalities financially benefit from the gas severance tax.

According to the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, the county received $33,485.17 in gas severance tax on earnings collected in 2010.

The tax is divided between the county and the five municipalities, Charles Town, Ranson, Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown and Bolivar, which divided $43,977.73 among themselves.

“The state collects the tax and splits it up between all 55 counties,” said Danny Forinash, public information officer for the West Virginia Tax Department.

Twenty-five percent of the revenue collected goes to the counties and 75 percent goes to the municipalities.

“The money received by the municipalities is based on the population according to the latest census.”

For instance, if the state should collect 10 percent on $50,000, that amount would break down to 25 percent, or $1,250, going to all 55 counties and the remaining 75 percent or $3,750 going to the municipalities.

The tax is calculated from statewide gas and oil drilling income, said Corky DeMarco, executive director of the state’s Oil and Natural Gas Association.

The total severance tax paid to all counties and municipalities combined for 2010 was $7,088,737.58.

DeMarco said severance tax income will become an even greater factor for the state budget as production increases from the Marcellus shale formation that runs beneath most of West Virginia.

Jefferson County received only $37 in property tax from leases, Berkeley received $791, and Morgan $1,323, said DeMarco.

“There is a little bit of leases in the far western part of Morgan County,” DeMarco said.

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