Decades-old fund freed up for West Virginia flood recovery
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — Nearly two years after floods in West Virginia killed around two dozen people, a new state law will free $1 million from a fund created in the 1980s to assist with flood recovery.
The bill that became law this week allows the city of White Sulphur Springs to spend both the $1 million principal and interest from a fund created during a real estate trade with CSX Corp., the former owner of The Greenbrier resort, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported .
Mayor Bruce Bowling said state code only allowed the city to use interest from the account and not the principal.
“At the time, the money was put into an account where the city could only use the interest money from that for capital improvements,” he said. “Of course at that time, interest rates were up, and we were getting probably $40,000 to $60,000 a year out of it, so every other year or so we’d pave streets with it. Interest money has dropped, last year we got $2,000 out of it. Really, it wasn’t making enough money to help us.”
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, said some Legislature members were surprised they had to get involved.
“It was just weird to me in the first place that we’d even have to do it,” he said.
White Sulphur Springs has had trouble receiving reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Baldwin said, and the freed up funds will be used to repair roads, bridges and sewers, among other projects.
The current owner of The Greenbrier, Gov. Jim Justice, did not sign the bill, which became law by default.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.