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Murrysville to consider soliciting bids on park's gas rights

| Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, 1:11 p.m.

Murrysville Council wants to know who is interested in leasing the gas rights under its community park.

On Wednesday, council will discuss a proposed ordinance that would put the gas rights under 260 acres of Murrysville Community Park out to bid.

“Enactment of this ordinance constitutes a declaration of the municipality's legislative intent to grant an oil and gas lease for the Murrysville Community Park property, without any surface operating rights, upon receipt of an acceptable responsible bid which conforms to council's approved bid specifications,” the proposed ordinance reads. “Murrysville shall reserve the right to reject a bid(s) as nonconforming or nonresponsive, or to reject all bids as being unsatisfactory or insufficient in meeting Murrysville's bid specifications and/or contrary to the municipality's best interests at such time.”

Last year, Monroeville-based Huntley & Huntley offered the municipality $2,250 per acre for the right to drill under the park plus 12.5 percent of the royalties garnered from selling any gas from the property.

Under municipal regulations, officials can not lease the gas rights without soliciting bids. The ordinance directs Chief Administrator Jim Morrison to inform Huntley that its proposal will be reviewed during the competitive bid process.

The move is the next step towards a citizen's group organizing a petition to put a referendum on the May primary ballot regarding those gas rights. According to the ordinance, residents can develop a referendum petition and submit it 45 days after the adoption of the ordinance.

Council is slated to discuss and vote on advertising the ordinance at Wednesday's 7 p.m. meeting, which will be held in the municipal building along Sardis Road.

The ordinance can be voted upon at the March 5 meeting.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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