$57,000 in drilling fees earmarked for municipalities in Penn-Trafford district
Municipalities in the Penn-Trafford School District will get more than $57,000 next month through a state program that dispenses payments according to the effect that drilling operations have within and near their borders.
At $46,411, Penn Township will be the biggest recipient in the district, followed by Manor, $6,691; Trafford, $3,091; and Penn Borough, $1,193.49.
Each community in the district will get about 10 percent less than it received from the state Public Utility Commission, or PUC, last year, during the first round of drilling-impact fees.
State legislators established the fees last year in Act 13, which established changes to oil- and gas-drilling regulations.
A portion of the law unrelated to the fees is under review by the state Supreme Court.
Statewide, the fees collected from the drilling industry for 2012 totaled about $202.4 million, a decrease of about $1.8 million from the previous year.
Of that total, local governments in Pennsylvania will get about $102.7 million, or about $2.6 million less than in the first year of payments.
PUC press secretary Jennifer Kocher said several factors — including the number of wells that are in operation — go into the formula that determines how much each municipality receives.
Part of the reason for the decline in impact fees is the drop in the cost of natural gas, she said.
“It's gone down slightly overall, so it's just rippled through,” Kocher said of the decline in impact fees for Penn-Trafford communities.
The money may be used on a variety of capital projects, including maintenance of wastewater systems or roads, emergency preparedness or environmental programs.
Penn Township already has capitalized on its 2012 payment from the PUC. Just last week, the township reopened a portion of Saunders Station Road in Level Green after using the impact fees to pay for the construction and installation of a prefabricated temporary bridge for $39,710.
The township's engineer has estimated it would cost at least six times that price to install a new, permanent structure over a creek there, but the temporary bridge has a warranty for eight years, and, officials said, it might be in use for even longer.
The impact fees gave Penn Township another pot of money to use for the project because a replacement for the former deteriorating bridge, which was closed in December, wasn't included in the 2013 budget.
Commissioner Larry Harrison, who lives in Level Green, said he has heard a lot of positive comments about the new bridge.
“Everyone is very pleased with it,” he said.
Officials said they aren't sure how they will spend the next batch of money. Manager Bruce Light said the township doesn't have other projects similar to Saunders Station that could be completed within that same price range.
“I'm sure we'll come up with something,” he said.
Manor set up a separate reserve fund for its 2012 payment of $7,423 but hasn't spent anything from it yet.
Manager Joe Lapia said council has prioritized using the money for maintenance of roads or sewer systems or emergency preparedness.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Manor officer leaves for neighboring department, replacement hired
- Memorial Day in Trafford
- Trafford Council reaches agreement on parking changes
- Penn-Trafford School Board challenger dies, 2 incumbents remain
- Mysterious event spurs passion for UFO Study Group founder
- Lou Bohince honored for boosting Harrison City’s ‘small-town feel’