The city administration was informed Wednesday it is expected to receive a little more than half of the amount of money from Marcellus Shale gas drilling impact fees than it had anticipated and planned to include in the 2013 budget.
The Public Utility Commission reports that Williamsport will receive $259,597. Originally, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana expected the city to receive $538,000 that he was going to use in planning the upcoming budget.
"That's an additional blow to the taxpayers," Campana said.
City taxpayers may have to anticipate an increase in real estate taxes, he said.
The city faces a $1.5 million shortfall requiring a 2-mill tax increase, but Campana said it won't be that much.
"I am taking pre-emptive measures and bold steps to reduce the size of government and bring alternative sources of revenue into the city next year," he said. Next year's payroll will be lighter under a plan that Campana will announce in early November.
City engineer John Grado said he was told the calculation of how the impact fee money was distributed has to do with population and mileage from wells.
"The city was apparently five miles from a vertical well, but not five miles from a horizontal well," he told the city finance committee Wednesday.
Asked from where the city received the original higher estimate, Campana said it was from a report done by Delta Development Group, a Mechanicsburg consulting firm that has looked at long-range economic development for the city.
It also was what the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry interest group, estimated the city would receive by the end of the year, Campana said.
Campana said he's disturbed because the money has to be used for impacts caused by gas industries, such as road reconstruction and housing.