Facing soaring gasoline, grocery, property taxes and sewer costs, Old Lycoming Township resident Doris Myers and some others were all smiles about the township getting aboard the gas drilling train.
Supervisors Tuesday night said they received a nod of approval from the township solicitor regarding a natural gas and oil drilling land lease agreement with Range Resources Inc., which has a Loyalsock Township office.
The company can begin drilling on 68.5 acres of township property spread throughout the township to search for natural gas deposits that could reap the township and its residents benefits.
Myers, who lives at 218 Myers Road, attended the supervisors' meeting and was enthusiastic about the potential prospects. Her property lies near where the township has more than 24 acres available for drilling.
The township will sign a five-year renewable lease agreement, according to Linda Mazzullo, township manager. She and the supervisors believe the business opportunity can't be missed. The drillers are paying $2,400 per acre in the lease with the township, with a 15 percent royalty arrangement.
Just by signing, the township receives a return of more than $164,000 within 90 days of the signature approval, Mazzullo said.
Gas speculators believe much of the county contains a wealth of natural gas deposits located in the Marcellus Shale, a deep rock formation that runs from southern New York state to West Virginia.
Any profits would go immediately into the general fund to offset any potential tax increases, Mazzullo said.
Costs here, just as they are everywhere, are heading up. Township supervisors recently approved a resolution calling for a $10-per-month increase in sewer bills starting in January.
When all is said and done, residents could, in a worst-case scenario using today's cost estimates, pay $70-per-month for their sewer, supervisors said.
"We're going to do as much in-house work as possible to be as fair as we can," Mazzullo said regarding necessary sewer rehabilitation and inspection of properties.
The main lines in the Garden View business district will be done first and all residents will receive surveys in the mail asking them questions to help the inspectors complete their jobs, she said.
Supervisor John Eck said in addition to Round Hills Road, which is getting repaved, many other projects are on hold until the inspection of the sewer lines and laterals to houses and businesses is completed.
That is so officials don't spend money repaving a road surface only to have to dig it up later, he said.