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Drilling impact fee up for consideration in Fayette

| Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fayette County commissioners next week will consider adopting an ordinance imposing impact fees on Marcellus shale wells.

Commisssioners Angela Zimmerlink and Vincent Zapotosky on Tuesday voted to place the proposed ordinance on the agenda for the board's possible approval at its regular meeting on March 20. Commissioner Al Ambrosini did not attend yesterday's meeting.

Zapotosky and Zimmerlink did not have an estimate on the amount of revenue the fees might generate, but a Tribune-Review analysis put the figure for 2011 at $6.9 million.

Of the $6.9 million, the county would receive an estimated $1.5 million. Fayette's municipalities would split $2.7 million, with the remainder to go to the state.

How the money will be spent has yet to be determined, but state legislation calls for some of it to go toward road and bridge repairs as well as parks and recreation projects. The amount that will go to each municipality will be based on a formula that uses the number of wells in each community or the proximity to towns with producing Marcellus shale wells.

Zimmerlink said the Fayette County Marcellus Shale Task Force will hold a public meeting 6 tonight at Swimmer Hall at Penn State, The Eberly Campus in North Union. She said residents who want more information on the state legislation that authorized the fees, as well as on how the revenues can be spent, should attend the meeting.

Neighboring counties, including Westmoreland and Washington, have adopted ordinances. Early estimates indicate the fees will generate $2 million for Westmoreland County and another $2 million that will be split among its municipalities.

In other business, commissioners next week will consider hiring a chief clerk and a public works director. The two positions are to be filled because county Manager Warren Hughes has retired.

Commissioners meet 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Public Service Building in Uniontown.

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