Earlier this month, Campbell County and Alpha Natural Resources have reached a settlement after a lengthy case over unpaid taxes. Alpha is one of the three major coal companies that went bankrupt between 2015 and 2016.
At the time of the settlement, the company owed over $11 million in unpaid ad valorem taxes to the county. The final agreement awarded Campbell County $7 million – $4 million less than what was owed.
Ad valorem taxes are essentially mineral property taxes, which pay for the state school system, county services, hospitals, and local salaries.
Mark Christensen, chairman of the Campbell County Commissioners, said Alpha used every possible loophole to avoid the tax payments. He added the settlement is not a win, but the best possible solution.
“Even though, principally, we can't let anyone not pay their taxes, we have to go 'yes, we’re going to have to let someone off, to get some portion of what it is,’” Christensen said.
Christensen added the amount lost was actually more than $4 million if you consider legal fees and unpaid interest. Campbell County spent nearly a million dollars in legal fees to fight Alpha over the unpaid taxes.
Mark Christensen said the county is still facing about $15 million in unpaid mineral property taxes from other companies. Alpha did not respond for comment.