Fee, gas lease could keep Fayette County flush
Preliminary numbers in the Fayette County 2014 budget do not call for a tax increase, the chairman said on Tuesday, but the board is still working on the spending plan.
No cuts have been made — yet — Commissioner Al Ambrosini said, and department requests for staff or funding increases will be reviewed closely.
A tentative budget is expected to be presented at the regular voting meeting on Nov. 19.
“We are still building the budget. We don't anticipate any tax increase,” Ambrosini said, following the board's agenda meeting.
Several pending actions could bring revenue into the general fund or cut expenditures, Ambrosini said.
“We are looking at a significant potential change on the revenue side,” he said.
That change could occur if the board enacts the state Uniform Parcel Identifier act.
Recorder of Deeds David Malosky said his office expects to send a letter of recommendation to the commissioners before year's end.
Some counties already impose the $10 fee for attorneys, real estate agents and, more recently, gas lease industries, to provide identification numbers for individual tracts, lots or parcels.
Those numbers would be assigned by the assessor's office, with fees collected by the recorder of deed's office, said Tracie Vargo, chief deputy recorder.
“It's a $10-per-parcel fee,” she said.
While that fee will have minimal impact on the average property buyer, it could bring in significant sums from the gas-leasing industry, Malosky said.
Ambrosini said the fees could add $400,000 or more to the general fund.
Commissioners agreed to a request from Phillip Khoury, land representative for Chevron, to consider an agreement between Fayette County and Chevron/Appalachian to lease 7.92 county-owned acres in Springhill Township.
The parcel is near a well-drilling site that Chevron is ready to proceed with, Khoury said.
“This would be non-surface disturbance. We want to go underneath. No property will be encroached,” he said.
The property was deeded to the county by CSX for a rails-to-trails project, Khoury said.
Drilling would be 10,000 feet underground, he said.
Khoury requested a five-year contract, with the county to receive a lease bonus payment of $1,000 per acre and a 14 percent royalty rate.
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said issues need to be discussed “beyond the county getting money.”
Grant funding could be affected if the county receives monetary benefits from such an agreement, she said.
Zimmerlink advised solicitor John Cupp to review any similar agreements the county has executed.
The board agreed to vote on a lease for the temporary women's annex to be used until the new county prison is operational.
Uniontown businessman Steve Neubauer owns the Iowa Street property, a former kindergarten.
The commissioners are awaiting a lease proposal, Ambrosini said.
Bids for an expected $100,000 renovation could be awarded in January, and the site could be ready for occupancy by March, Ambrosini said.
It would house as many as 50 female inmates to help reduce the number of prisoners housed in rented cells in other counties until the new facility is built, Ambrosini said.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 724-836-5401.
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.
- Harlem Wizards will take to the court against Connellsville All Stars
- Somerset Trust Train Station Complex in Connellsville to hold grand opening
- Fayette to open central district court
- Pa. candidates address equal rights, economic equity in Connellsville
- Statements to stand in Connellsville High School athlete’s slaying
- Burglars take $200 from Clark Elementary School
- Springfield students collect hygiene items
- Frazier’s $22M school construction project moving on schedule
- Connellsville council told Highlands Hospital has prevention plan for Ebola
- Connellsville Area Community Ministries kicks off capital campaign
- Dunbar Township woman, toddler critical after crash