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Westmoreland County gets $3.8M in drilling impact fees

| Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 4:06 p.m.

A new round of Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale impact fees has been collected and divided, and official figures for each local municipality's share have been released.

The Public Utility Commission collects and distributes impact fees, and it collected a total of $202,472,000 in fees statewide for 2012. The commission collected $204,210,000 in impact fees in 2011, the first year for the program.

“When they first did it last year, they added all the years together (2009, 2010 and 2011),” Derry Township supervisors chairman Vince DeCario said. “This year we just got it for 2012.”

Impact fee revenues are awarded to counties and municipalities based on the number of eligible natural gas wells inside and within five miles of its borders, as well as the municipality's population and highway miles.

Act 13 revenue may be used for public infrastructure improvements, emergency preparedness, public safety, environmental programs including parks and trails, preservation and reclamation of surface and subsurface waters, tax reductions including homestead exclusions, affordable housing programs, records management, information technology, the delivery of social services, judicial services, deposits to capital reserve funds to be used for Act 13 purposes, career and technical centers for training workers in the oil and gas industry and local or regional planning initiatives.

Bradford County and its municipalities, with a state-high 1,125 eligible gas wells, according to the PUC, were awarded a combined total of $7,296,905.65 in impact fees.

Westmoreland County, home to 193 eligible wells, will get $1,577,394.39 for 2012, down from $1,721,906.92 the previous year. Act 13 revenues awarded to Westmoreland County municipalities bring the county's combined total for 2012 to $3,839,060.14.

Of the $458,490.14 Derry Township was awarded for 2011, $250,000 was used for roadway and bridge construction and improvements with the remaining funds set aside in a capital reserve fund for future Act 13 projects. The township was awarded $370,464.04 for 2012.

DeCario said some Act 13 revenue from 2012 will be used to fund the Bradenville School Road culvert replacement project. Bids for that project were opened Monday.

Derry Borough sent the entirety of its $7,049.57 in 2011 impact fee revenue to its Act 13-related capital reserve. The borough will get $6,350.05 in impact fees this year.

Unity Township used its entire 2011 Act 13 revenue of $66,800 for infrastructure improvements, according to the municipality's report, and will bring in $60,127.84 this year according to the PUC.

Latrobe Borough was awarded $20,814.12 for 2011 and will see its impact fee revenue dip to $19,721.77 for 2012.

Ligonier Borough deposited its $4,452.96 impact fee allotment for 2011 into capital reserve for future Act 13 projects. Ligonier Township did the same with its 2011 allotment of $56,767.57. Ligonier Borough's Act 13 allotment is $4,011.32 for 2011, while the township's share for 2011 is $46,933.66.

New Alexandria Borough has the lowest impact fee revenue in the area again, bringing in $1,451.12 for 2012 after being awarded $1,612.33 for 2011.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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