Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn answered questions and listened to comments during a public meeting in October.

In Confidential Deal, Coal Company Pays Back Taxes To Colorado County

Peabody Energy paid nearly one point eight million dollars in overdue taxes this week to a rural county in western Colorado, resolving, for now, a serious funding concern for a tiny school district there. Communities all over the country count on revenue from fossil fuel extraction to pay for basics like schools and roads. But with the downturn in coal, oil and gas, that steady stream of energy dollars is no longer assured.

Twentymile Mine in Oak Creek, Colo., is owned by Peabody Energy and employs about 470 people. Peabody filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

Coal Dependent School Budgets In Crisis

Cheaper natural gas has dealt a blow to the coal industry — and to Routt County school district. Before the district opened an all-day preschool in the small town of Yampa, there wasn’t an affordable day care program for this mostly working class community. When Peabody Energy, owner of Routt County’s Twentymile Mine, went into bankruptcy and failed to pay property taxes, it would have been the first thing to go. But the school district hasn’t let that happen.