2014-06-07 / Front Page

Another round of impact fees coming

Big $ for some municipalities

Local townships, boroughs and county governments will be receiving a third round of payments soon from the state’s “impact fee” on shale gas drilling.

Amount of each check from the Pa. Public Utility Commission (PUC) is based on deep gas wells in place last year. Annual allotments will continue in future years based on the previous year’s activity.

Based on a preliminary PUC report, still subject to revision, PUC on July 1 will send $376,641 to the Potter County Commissioners and $103,900 to the Cameron County Commissioners. Regulations that were passed by the legislature as part of Pa. Act 13 of 2012 restrict how recipients can use the revenue (see below).

Each county will also receive $25,000 from a stateoperated “legacy fund” and can use that money for greenways, natural areas and other environmental projects.

Breakdown of payments coming to the townships and boroughs in Potter County, subject to late revision, is as follows: Abbott, $17,049; Allegany, $37,824; Austin, $6,152; Bingham, $13,683; Clara, $44,469; Coudersport, $37,795; Eulalia, $12,366; Galeton, $11,376; Genesee, $11,472; Harrison, $21,874; Hebron, $20,762; Hector, $35,493; Homer, $8,039; Keating, $28,493; Oswayo Borough $1,971; Oswayo Township, $8,571; Pike, $5,563; Pleasant Valley, $83,634; Portage, $2,253; Roulette, $14,105; Sharon, $15,802; Shinglehouse, $5,279; Stewardson, $2,830; Summit, $4,608; Sweden, $31,977; Sylvania, $15,245; Ulysses Borough, $6,460; Ulysses Township, $11,497; West Branch, $122,599; and Wharton, $30,307.

Cameron County local government payments are: Shippen, $128,563; Emporium, $18,793; Lumber, $15,063; Gibson, $13,949; Grove, $4,666; Portage, $2,984; and Driftwood, $694.

Under Act 13, 60 percent of the total fees collected go to counties and local governments and 40 percent to the state. The state’s portion is to be used for emergency response planning, training and other activities; water, storm water, and sewer system construction and repair; infrastructure maintenance and repair; as well as environmental initiatives.

Local governments can use the funds to address a variety of drilling impacts, including preservation and reclamation of water supplies; improvements to local roads and bridges; construction and repair of water and sewer systems; delivery of social services; local tax reduction; housing; conservation districts; emergency preparedness and flflood plain management.

The 60 percent of the fees not retained by the state are distributed as follows: 36 percent to county governments with wells subject to the fee; 37 percent for host municipalities with wells subject to the fee; and 27 percent for all local governments in counties with wells.

Both the PUC and the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) have posted information about the Act 13 impact fee and related topics on their websites.

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