Drilling impact fees help local budgets
As supervisors in Forward tried to do more with less tax money in recent years, cracking roads and potholes in the Butler County community grew into a bigger problem.
Now supervisors hope they have a solution.
The township got one of the largest payouts in the Pittsburgh region from the state's 2012 drilling impact fee. This year it's spending most of that $184,000 on aggressive road maintenance.
“It's nice to have that little extra cushion,” said Mark Wilson, chairman of the township's supervisors.
State officials this week are sorting through reports on such spending from 1,456 county and municipal governments that received money from the per-well impact fee. Local officials had until Monday to send forms to the Public Utility Commission showing they budgeted the money in line with state requirements. The PUC plans to release the data this week.
Municipal officials touted road projects such as Forward's in interviews. But there are other projects, such as $200,000 for parks and a community center in Chartiers, $150,000 for a dump truck in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, and $339,000 for the Cumberland, Greene County, police department, including a new car.
“I'm not saying they were all gas (related), but the police business is up, the police calls are up, people are complaining about trucks and noise,” said Bill Groves, chairman of the board of supervisors in Cumberland, which got the most money of any municipality in the state — $1,039,586.78.
“Not serious things, but people complain about them and we have to respond. It takes up our time,” he said.
Lawmakers passed the annual fee to address road and sewer line wear and tear and other costs from the gas boom's influx of drilling, trucks and people. Drillers paid $50,000 for every horizontal shale well and $10,000 for every vertical shale well in the state in 2011. The PUC divided the money, about $204 million, late last year. About 60 percent went to municipal and county governments, which can't apply property taxes to drilling sites.
At least one borough may not have followed the rules.
Because of the complicated formula state lawmakers passed to divide the money, Glenfield was one of about 200 municipalities statewide to get checks for less than $100.
It's more effort than it's worth to verify spending on such small amounts — $8.92, to be exact, for Glenfield, borough Secretary Janet Mascara said. Borough officials deposited the money in the general fund and didn't fill out the required form for the PUC, she said.
“What can you do with $8?” she asked. “Go to the bar and have a beer.”
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or email@example.com.
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.
- Security policies limit ‘insider threat’ at airports, TSA says
- SWAT incident in Ross ends peacefully
- Pet chiropractic more popular in Western Pa., but doubts linger
- Pittsburgh police chief finds use-of-force policies ‘quite satisfactory’
- Attorney wants evidence from South Allegheny teacher’s cellphone thrown out
- Newsmaker: John Carson
- Suspect in Glassport man’s shooting death put on house arrest
- Maryland man found with missing Ohio girl in Pittsburgh motel
- Police find marijuana grow rooms in Castle Shannon
- Buffalo man killed by truck in the West End Circle wanted ‘a fresh start’
- 2nd command officer at Allegheny County Jail punished