Communities to get drilling impact fee money

June 19, 2020
Sun Gazette

The city will receive nearly $447,000 in natural gas drilling impact fees to use on street reconstruction and other projects related to damages caused by drilling in the Marcellus Shale play, state officials said.

The city allocation is $446,809, said Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Utility Commission.

City Councilman Randall J. Allison said the gas drilling impact fee is about what was budgeted. The budgeted amount was $450,000, he said.

“That estimate is right on target,” Allison said. “That is important going forward. When any budget line item comes in as estimated or better than expected it will improve our bottom line and minimize the financial impact on our 2021 budget due to the uncertainty and disruption this year from the virus lockdown.”

Attempts to reach Mayor Derek Slaughter were not successful.

The city allocation is not the most in Lycoming County. That goes to Cogan House and Cummings townships. The townships each will receive $549,400 in impact fees, the commission said.

Other communities with top-dollar impact fees include: Lewis Township, $369,398; Penn Township, $268,707 and Gamble Township, $238,863 and Loyalsock Township, $200,247.

These rural communities with the most well drilling sites and impact fees use their funds for road repairs and for items such as storage buildings for materials used by township supervisors, supervisors said on their websites.

Shannon Rossman, executive director of county planning, said she was going to review the list before issuing any comment.

Overall, the natural gas impact fee disbursements are down $42.6 million from last year, however, county and municipal governments directly affected by drilling will receive a total of $109.1 million for the year, the commission said.

Additionally, $72.1 million will be transferred to the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which provides financial support for environmental, highway, water and sewer projects.

The legacy fund money also can be used for rehabilitation of greenways (paths used by bicyclists and pedestrians near waterways), and other projects. Also, $18.3 million will be distributed to state agencies.