Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
In the next ten days, municipalities and counties across the state are slated to receive their cut of the the roughly $204 million of impact fee revenue from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.
State Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, a major proponent of the legislation, said the impact fee money stands to be a game-changer for communities that have experienced the heaviest drilling activity.
“They’re going to receive, maybe, $50,000 in impact fees,” said Scarnati. “That doesn’t sound like much. People around the state may laugh about that. $50,000? But when you have a $150,000 budget, it makes a difference.”
Local governments will be able to spend the cash to spend on a menu of pre-approved areas, such as low-income housing and road repair. But all 67 counties will receive some portion of impact fee revenue, as state Public Utility Commission chairman Robert Powelson pointed out Monday.
“There are communities in southeastern Pennsylvania, where I’m from – Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, and Bucks County – that are also net beneficiaries of these funds,” he said. The funds going to counties are slated for things like environmental programs, bridge repair, and water and sewer projects.
Philadelphia County, for example, doesn’t have any active natural gas wells, but is getting $1.3 million. By contrast, Allegheny County, which is in drilling country, will receive just about $1 million for the same series of statewide programs and projects.
Powelson says less than two percent of the fee revenue still needs to be collected. Those payments are being contested by energy companies and are under review.
To find out how much impact fee revenue your city or county will receive, check out the table over at StateImpactPA.
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