UPDATE: Keystone City Council to Vote on Going Unincorporated

1 PM Thursday, Feb 1, 2018 UPDATE:

Keystone City Hall told 59 News they still do not have the $10,000 to keep themselves financially within operational guidelines. They are planning to vote on going unincorporated at tonight's city council meeting.

Stick with 59 News on this developing story.



KEYSTONE, WV (WVNS) -- On January 5, 2018, the city of Keystone in McDowell County was having trouble paying for its utilities. More than two weeks later, the city is drowning in debt, struggling to stay afloat. It has gotten to the point where the city is reducing the number of hours its employees can work.

"We had to cut our time back to three days a week," said mayor Elwin Thomas. "Some of the city officials have decided they wouldn't going to take any pay to help the situation out, to try to get financially stable."

Thomas says the situation stems from a two-fold problem.  The first being a loss of tax money from businesses and occupational privilege taxes.  Some businesses have paid them, but others have not.

"Businesses here in the city of Keystone were paying right at close to a million dollars in B&O taxes," Thomas said.  "Now, it's cut down to $1,000-2,000 every quarter now and it's hurt the city bad." 

The second cause is the constant maintenance of the city's 100 year-old water system. Before being funded a $35,000 E.D.A. grant in 2017, Keystone spent $75,000 of their general funds over the previous three years.

"Without the help from the EDA, this would've happened a long time ago," Thomas said.

Now, that double-edged sword is threatening to cut the city of Keystone entirely. If they don't get $10,000 by next week, they will shut their doors for good.

"It's a bad situation," Thomas said. "I don't want the city of Keystone to go under. I'm going to do everything in my power to reach out to people, city officials, local officials, (and) state officials for help."

A century-old city in fear of its final week.

"We can't keep it going anymore unless somebody steps up and gives us a hand," Thomas said.

If Keystone shuts its doors, more than 300 combined residents with water, power, and/or radiator heat will lose all of those utilities.

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