Letcher County magistrate backs proposed prison, says payroll tax would ensure out-of-county employees contribute

Republished from WEKU.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons final environmental impact statement on the proposed prison complex in Letcher County allows for a 30-day public comment period ending August 12th. Letcher County Magistrate Debra Collier said the construction and permanent jobs it would provide are needed, due to the decline of the coal industry and coal severance tax revenue.

“When you bring more revenue in, you have the ability to maintain roads better. You have the ability to, for economic development.”

Opponents of the prison say it will harm the environment, including endangered animal species, and that most of the people who’d work at the prison will come from elsewhere. Collier said she backs a proposal that would ensure non-Letcher residents contribute to the county’s bottom line.

“I am a huge supporter of an occupational tax that we do not have in the county now and if we will pass the occupational tax that some of the fiscal court members are supporting, then our county is going to get a huge jump in revenue.”

The prison would be built on reclaimed coal mine land in the community of Roxana.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.