Last week, the Wayland City Commission received a letter from an Eastern Kentucky mining operation which is interested in purchasing a piece of land the city owns. However, city officials said they see no benefit in a possible transaction.
During the regular meeting of the Wayland City Commission on Nov. 10, city officials received a letter from Landfall Mining INC., a mining operation located in Elkhorn City, regarding the company’s interest in purchasing a piece of property the city owns and on which a number of mining companies have operated. According to Mayor Jerry Fultz, the company is proposing to purchase the property and in turn, relieve the city of the responsibility and liability which it incurs. However, Flutz said the matter was something he wasn’t sure the council wanted to get into.
The property in the past, according to the commission, has been a site which has seen a number of coal companies work in and out of, but has not been actively mined.
Part of the issue, according to Fultz, is that Landfall is held accountable for the pond which is on the property in question. Fultz said that the company has to come to the property in order to dip the pond periodically. When that happens, due to the city owning the property, a worker must ride out to the property to open the gate.
Regarding what a possible price for the property would look like, Fultz said that, according to the letter, the company hopes that a possible agreement can be structured so that “if the coal market develops into a profitable business again, we can pay the city royalty.” Fultz said that proposition was one he wasn’t sure he’d be interested in.
According to the commission, the last mining company to operate out of the property, under Landfall’s permit, failed to pay and still owes the city money.
City Attorney Tyler Green said he believes the company is interested in purchasing the property due to them possibly having a bond on the land. If that is the case, Green said, the company could start a reclamation process and if done officially, Landfall could make money of the previous bond.
Fultz said that he believes the mining company has around a $75,000 cash bond, so that very well could be the case.
Green informed the city that if it was actually interested in selling the property, then the city would have to deem it as surplus and then open the property up to receive bids from prospective punchers. He did add that the city could possibly bypass the bid process if it could be deemed that selling the property would help push economic development.
“You can do that if there’s a promise of creating a number of jobs,” Green said.
Fultz said that although he can see how selling the property to Landfall could help create economic development, he added that there’s just no guarantee.
“If we did decide to sell it and they bought, with everything that could be done, it would create a job or two, at some point,” Fultz said. “But, there’s no guarantee that would happen in six months or six years, so I’m not sure.”
For Fultz, it’s not about what the land currently is, it’s more about what it could potentially be down the road, and that’s why his belief is that the city should hold on to the property. According to the commission, once things are straightened up, there’s potential for maybe housing opportunities or another type of project with the property.
The commission took no action regarding the letter as it was just a discussion and the commission added that if Landfall is still interested in purchasing the property then they are more than welcome to attend the meeting in order to perform a presentation, but as of right now the city is not currently interested in selling the property or declaring it as surplus.