Loyalsock Township's board of supervisors approved the potential leasing of property for the purpose of exploring for natural gas at its meeting Tuesday night.
Looking at a potential windfall underneath township-owned property, the board approved giving permission to lease the rights to interested gas drilling companies to look for the natural resource underneath its land, but with some caveats.
"We don't want to have the gas companies putting drilling equipment or wells on our soccer fields, or parks," Township Manager Bill Burdett said of the potential for gas wells. "But if they can drill in such a way that they can get to the gas without digging up our properties, they can look for the gas. We do not want to disturb the surface, especially in our parks and other public facilities."
According to Burdett, he has been contacted by three gas drilling companies that are interested in drilling underneath township-owned properties. Lester Greevy, township solicitor, said there are 33 properties owned by the township that could be leased, ranging in size from about one to about 27 acres, with a total of 143 acres the drilling companies could be interested in.
In other action, the board approved advertising for bids for sewer rehabilitation work in Area 1, the western end of the township. Bids from contracting companies will be due by Aug. 20 and Burdett said he hopes the township can award a contract at its Aug. 26 meeting.
Work on the sewer rehabilitation will include replacing sewer mains, upgrading about 67 manholes and replacing laterals from the street lines to the homeowners' property lines.
Supervisors also gave approval for the township to sign on to a municipal cooperative health insurance program known as Benecon, in which a number of municipalities share health insurance costs. The board also approved advertising to the public about the intergovernmental agreement it would enter into and will schedule a public hearing at a later date.
Meanwhile, Loyalsock Township Volunteer Fire Co. President Donald Hessert told the supervisors that the addition at the fire station on Northway Road nearly is complete and said a grand opening probably will held sometime in September. He said offices are moving into the new addition and equipment soon will be moved into the new bays.