Recent decision shows value of gas impact fee system

There has been debate about the worth of gas impact fees that the state Legislature chose over a gas drilling tax.

But the bottom line is that a tax goes to Harrisburg and state coffers first.

And from there, who knows where, as history shows.

The natural gas impact fees are predominantly distributed locally in areas where natural gas drilling is most prevalent, though we would like the percentage of money going locally to be greater.

The benefit of that is underlined with important local decisions.

One recently was made to turn over $180,000 in gas impact fees to the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority to defray the cost of replacing sanitary and water lines serving the new YMCA that is under construction on Park Avenue and for a building addition under development by Susquehanna Health.

William Kelly, deputy director of the county Department of Planning and Community Development, called the decision to turn over the money for those purposes “a slam dunk.”

We agree.

Others probably would question this decision and prefer all the money be allocated for infrastructure needs.

Well-intentioned people can agree to disagree and move on.

The most important point, however, is that the local people are getting to make these decisions. If we don’t like those decisions, we can let them know quite easily.

There is much more transparency with the gas impact fee system that’s been implemented in the state.

And beyond that transparency is the solitary fact that none of this decision making would be possible on the local level without the economic windfall created by the natural gas drilling industry in our region.