It’s that time of the year when counties and municipalities find out how much impact fee money they will receive as a result of the Marcellus Shale development in the state. And, like years past, this year’s payments are no small change. The state’s total reimbursement for 2014 will be $223.5 million, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).
In the Southwestern part of Pa., where despite a low commodity price Marcellus activity has maintained a steady pace, Washington County will receive the highest reimbursement for 2014 not only in the region, but the state overall, for its 1,164 wells. According to the Observer-Reporter (emphasis added):
“Washington County and its municipalities led the state in reimbursements from impact fees paid by drillers in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale in 2014, with the county receiving $6.5 million and its municipalities garnering $11.1 million for a total of $17.63 million, according to a list provided Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.”
Greene County, with 873 wells, was also in the top five counties with the highest reimbursements. They county will receive $4.55 million and the municipalities will collect $7.27 million for a total of $11.8 million overall. All in all, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports $48 million will go to Southwestern Pa. counties. From that report, here’s what a few more counties can expect in their mailboxes before July 1st:
“Butler County communities will receive $5.7 million, followed by communities in Westmoreland County with $3.7 million, Fayette County with $3.5 million and Allegheny County with $2.2 million.”
Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) also issued a release this week announcing the impact fee reimbursements for his district where the majority of Marcellus development is occurring in the Northeastern part of Pennsylvania. Yaw had this to say on the money his counties will be receiving (emphasis added):
“For the fourth year in a row, counties and local governments in my legislative district experiencing natural gas drilling are receiving needed financial support through Act 13 impact fee dollars. Bradford, Lycoming and Susquehanna counties ranked among the highest recipients of Act 13 revenues. I cannot remember a time when millions of dollars were sent back to our local governments without a long, involved grant process.”
Just how much will those counties be receiving this year? Bradford County will be issued $17.34 million overall, Susquehanna County will receive $15.96 million, Lycoming County is to expect $12.07 million, and even Sullivan County where activity has not been as prevalent will be getting $1.72 million.
Yaw’s press release also shares the amount Union County can expect to receive, despite having absolutely no Marcellus development. He notes:
“Since Union County has no drilling it does not qualify for a share of the Impact Fee revenue; however, it does qualify for $43,011.18 through the Marcellus Legacy Fund Disbursement. In addition to the revenue disbursement above, each county, including Union, will also be eligible for funding dedicated to the statewide share.”
That’s over $48 million also coming back to some of the most heavily drilled areas in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
What’s more, as is the case with Union County, counties residing outside of the Marcellus region are still able to receive some funding. York County, for example, has received $1.5 million over the course of the four years impact money has been distributed. This year, the county can expect over $420,000. According to the York Daily Record:
“The impact fee money has been used for countywide farmland preservation, work on the Heritage Rail Trail County Park, work on Camp security in Springettsbury Township and improvements to baseball fields in the city, according to a news release.”
The money counties and municipalities receive has to be used in the local community for projects such as emergency preparedness and public safety, road and bridge repairs, environmental programs, and more. For a detailed breakdown of all distributions of the 2014 impact fee click here.
The impact fee is just one more way the oil and gas industry has boosted the economy of Pennsylvania’s communities, as the Marcellus Shale continues to be a game-changer across the country.