Natural gas impact fee coming to county

Natural gas impact fee disbursements to counties and municipalities fall short of the allocations from the boom days of drilling in the Marcellus Shale industry, but the dollars continue to be welcome sources of revenue.

The state Public Utility Commission this week announced that nearly $210 million is being allocated, including $52 million for northeastern Pennsylvania counties and communities.

Lycoming County alone stands to receive $3.7 million from 2017 drilling activity, an increase from the $3.1 million amount of the previous year.

Total dollars being disbursed to Lycoming County including all its municipalities is expected to be $8.9 million.

Local governments decide how the monies can be used with certain restrictions.

“Honesty, we don’t have anything definitive planned,” Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito said. “We will have to get together and look at priorities and see the best use of the money. I am looking forward to speaking with my colleagues and seeing what the needs are. In the past, we have tried to use the money for projects that leverage other funds. That way we use the funds to really impact economic development in the county.”

Mirabito said the funds certainly help ease the pressure of having to spend local tax dollars.

Since 2012, the drilling tax has generated almost $1.5 billion in new revenue for communities across the state’s 67 counties, according to the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock, noted his district encompassing Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties will receive $40.1 million in gas well fee revenues.

“Over the past seven years, rural Pennsylvania has benefited tremendously from these impact fee distributions,” Yaw said. “Bradford, Lycoming and Susquehanna counties again ranked among the highest recipients of Act 13 revenues.”

The tax revenues support local bridge, road and other critical infrastructure improvements, as well as community parks, first-responders, soil and water conservation districts, environmental projects and housing initiatives,” according to Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Spigelmyer.

Other counties, including their municipal disbursements are:

• Susquehanna, $16 million.

• Bradford, $13.8 million.

• Tioga, $8.2 million.

• Wyoming, $2.8 million.

• Sullivan, $1.4 million.