Delta County still waiting on mine money

Delta County officials still are waiting to hear directly from Bowie Resources, which recently reopened its mine and recalled its work force, about the company’s tax bill.

“We’re just waiting,” Delta County Treasurer Jim Ventrello said. “We have heard nothing at all. Absolutely nothing.”

Bowie Resources late last year received an infusion of $1 million from a Seattle-based company, which it used to restart the mine. At the time, Ventrello said he hoped to hear shortly from Bowie.

Last spring, Bowie caught up with its delinquent taxes in March and April, presenting checks of $550,000 each in March and April to the county.

Bowie’s payment of its taxes due in 2010 could follow the same pattern, Ventrello said, noting Bowie is scheduled to start longwall mining again in April.

At that time, “Their cash flow should improve dramatically,” Ventrello said.

Bowie has a contract to send 3 million tons of coal to the Tennessee Valley Authority. The mine has proven reserves of about 25 million tons with the possibility of an additional 15 million tons, depending on the permitting process.

A tax sale of Bowie mine near Paonia last fall pumped some money into Delta County coffers, Ventrello said.

Bowie is Delta County’s largest taxpayer, but its woes aren’t the only ones plaguing Delta County, Ventrello said.

The county has had a wage and hiring freeze for the past three years, “but it’s not just because of them,” Ventrello said. “The economy in general forced us to take those measures.”


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