There is one common theme with all of the government entities in this region – the lack of funding. They are all struggling to keep their heads above water.
The loss of coal severance tax money and other tax monies has hurt cities, counties and the state.
The city council of Williamson is looking at ways to produce much needed funds to stay afloat. The mayor has asked to raise the garbage rates. They have already voted to raise the business license and B & O taxes.
The Mingo County Commission has also been forced to lay-off several workers in the courthouse and cut funding for several other events and organizations they usually contribute to.
The state legislature has not been able to balance its budget and the governor was forced to call a special session. They have still not been able to agree and will return in a few days.
Both Mingo County and the state of West Virginia have had to dip into their rainy day funds to help make up the deficit in the budgets.
We hear daily about how Obama-care has been a failure.
Unemployment in Appalachia is higher than in most parts of the country. This also hurts tax revenue in individual counties, municipalities and across the United States.
Governmental agencies are struggling, especially in small towns like Williamson, Matewan, Gilbert, Delbarton and Kermit.
There is no quick fix and no easy answers.
You can understand why cities such as Williamson are raising water rates, garbage rates, etc. But on the other hand, it is difficult for those who are on fixed incomes and those who are unemployed or making minimum wages to take another hit on their household budgets.
It is indeed a slippery slope on both sides of the wall.
The economy has taken a huge hit the last eight years under the Obama Administration.
The upcoming election in November will be crucial for this part of Appalachia. It may get worse before it gets better.
All we can do is try to keep treading water until hopefully we can swim to shore.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)