15-23-715. New or expanding mines -- tax abatement -- definition. (1) A county may abate taxation under this chapter for production from a new or expanding surface or underground coal mine that is taxed at the rate provided in 15-23-703(1)(a) by 50% or less for 5 or 10 years by directing the department to levy the tax at a lower tax rate as provided in 15-23-703(1)(b).
(2) An abatement must be authorized by the governing body of a county. Before an abatement authorization is effective, the school boards of all affected school districts must be notified of the abatement. The authorization must be made by a resolution of the county governing body after a public hearing. The county governing body shall publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper that meets the requirements of 7-1-2121. The notice must be published twice, with at least 6 days separating publications. The first publication may be no more than 30 days prior to the hearing and the last publication must be at least 3 days prior to the hearing.
(3) An abatement authorization may be made for a 5-tax-year period, and upon expiration of that period, it may be authorized for one more 5-tax-year period. The abatement of taxation for the second 5-tax-year period may be 50% or less. An abatement authorization must be made prior to the beginning of the property tax year in which abatement is in effect. The department must be notified of each abatement authorization prior to the beginning of the tax year.
(4) (a) Production from a new surface or underground mine is all production from a mine that in the year prior to the tax year in which the first abatement will apply had production of less than 500,000 tons of coal and the production during the course of the abatement period is estimated to be and actually amounts to at least five times the preabatement production amount.
(b) Production from an expanding surface or underground mine is that portion of the mine's production that exceeds the average production for the previous 3 years. To qualify for the abatement, the total of the prior average production and the new production may not decrease during the time of the abatement.
(5) For the purpose of 15-23-703 and this section, "surface mine" means coal mining using any method other than underground mining.