Impact fees help budgets in Latrobe area neighborhoods
As area municipal officials plan next year's budgets, they will have the opportunity to factor in more than $600,000 from the $204 million collected in impact fees from Marcellus shale natural gas drilling.
The Public Utilities Commission released updated figures for the fees, tentatively scheduled to be distributed at the beginning of December.
The money is collected from drilling fees levied during the first 15 years of a well's activity. The amount due for each well ranges between $5,000 and $60,000 and depends on when drilling began and the average price of natural gas.
About 22 percent of the $204 million collected is going to municipalities with wells, with another 16 percent allocated for municipalities statewide. The remainder will be divided among state programs and counties with wells.
Derry Township, which has 69 Marcellus shale gas wells, according to the Department of Environmental Protection, will receive the most because of the high number of wells within the township, said Supervisor Vince DeCario.
Repairing roads and bridges are a priority in most of the municipalities, including Derry Township.
“Then we'll go from there,” he said, adding that some township bridges could also use improvements.
Supervisors are planning to replace the Greenville School bridge, he said.
Each year the township regularly spends between $300,000 and $400,000 on roads, DeCario said.
Unity Supervisor Michael O'Barto said the township will also put the money into paving.
“The liquid fuels money that our municipality gets is just not enough to do the work that we need to do,” he said.
Roads top the list in Latrobe, where City Manager Alex Graziani said the $20,814 allocated there will be put to good use.
“We have plenty of needs related to infrastructure,” he said.
Wells are not being drilled within Latrobe's borders, but trucks use city roads to travel to and from Unity and Derry townships, Graziani said.
“Certainly our community is impacted,” he said.
In Derry Borough, council President John McCreary said officials originally planned to use a projected $21,000 for infrastructure. The latest figures, however, have adjusted Derry's total to a little more than $7,000.
“Now we have to revise all that,” he said. “Needless to say, it's very disappointing.”
McCreary said officials may save the funds in the capital improvement fund for future projects, although council members have not have the opportunity to discuss the issue.
In Ligonier Borough, officials plan to do just that and bank the $4,453 slated to come in, according to secretary/treasurer Paul Fry.
“We'll save it for unexpected expenses in (the allowable) categories,” Fry said. “You never know when a catch water basin will break or a storm water drain needs repaired. It will offset some of the shortfalls of the budget for some of those unforeseen expenditures.”
Ligonier Township Supervisor Keith Whipkey said he does not view the $56,767 the township will receive as “extra money.”
“We're looking at a tax increase for next year,” Whipkey said. “So we're going to have to apply this money to things that we would normally pay out of the general fund.”
In New Alexandria, Councilman A. Wayne Duffield said no discussions have come up yet about the $1,612 the borough is set to receive.
“We're going to wait until we have the money in hand,” he said. With sewage construction going on in New Alexandria, Duffield said it could be put to good use for storm drain repair.
Youngstown council President Bill Piper said the borough is grateful to be receiving its allotment of $810, up from the original estimate.
“We've got a lot of places that we could put it,” he said. “We'll take all we can get.”
Council hasn't discussed any more specific plans, he said, but it could be put toward playground maintenance.
Staff writer Jewels Phraner contributed to this report. Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Derry plan would bypass failing bridge
- Palmer airport eyes $2M state grant to improve terminal access
- Greater Latrobe, Derry Area high school students offer ideas for economic growth
- Alcoholic beverage sales canceled for summer concerts in Latrobe’s Keener Park
- Latrobe Historical Society marks 70th anniversary of end of World War II
- Temple professor portrays Civil War general at Latrobe library