Townships Prepare For Impact Fee Money
Pennsylvania’s new natural gas impact fee will deliver millions of dollars to local governments across the commonwealth later this year.
How are townships and boroughs planning on spending the money? The Post-Gazette called them up:
HARRISBURG — For the tiny Columbia in Bradford County, the new gas drilling impact fee will yield a check later this year nearly equal to the township’s annual budget.
The northeastern Pennsylvania township’s 1,200 residents have witnessed about 125 gas wells being drilled due to the Marcellus Shale boom — the most of any town in the commonwealth, according to the most recent state data.
While that data remains somewhat in flux as state officials and drillers fact-check a list of more than 4,800 gas wells, even conservative estimates show that the town is eligible for a check this fall of more than $1.1 million. Their eventual payment won’t be quite that large due to a provision in the impact fee’s distribution scheme, limiting how much a town can receive to the larger of $500,000 or half of their municipal budget.
Columbia’s budget isn’t much more than the half-million dollar limit, said township supervisor William Eick. Any local funds above the cap will be redirected into a fund for affordable housing projects. “I don’t know what we’d do with a million dollars,” said Mr. Eick, whose property hosts eight of the town’s approximately 125 wells liable for the fee. “You can always put it in the roads.”