Local governments now know how much money they’ll get this year as a result of the “impact fee” on shale gas drilling. Potter County’s allotment is $190,209 — down by more than $40,000 from the 2015 figure — as well as another $25,000 that can be used only for certain environmental and/or recreational projects. At the local level, top recipients are West Branch Township at $59,250; Clara Township, $29,540; Pleasant Valley Township, $29,087; and Sweden Township, $28,885.
Other Potter County municipal allotments are: Abbott, $5,298; Allegany, $23,874; Austin, $3,163; Bingham, $7,016; Coudersport, $12,617; Eulalia, $6,379; Galeton, $5,883; Genesee, $5,904; Harrison, $11,194; Hebron, $7,223; Hector, $7.902; Homer, $4,119; Keating, $17,989; Oswayo Borough, $489; Oswayo Township, $4,377; Pike, $2,867; Portage, $1,167; Roulette, $7,279; Sharon, $8,098; Shinglehouse, $2,284; Stewardson, $1,448; Summit, $6,901; Sylvania, $10,062; Ulysses Borough, $1,582, Ulysses Township, $5.900; and Wharton, $20,026.
Amount of each allocation is based on gas production that took place in 2015. Total impact fee payments going out to all counties and municipalities in the state add up to $187.7 million, a slight decrease from last year’s $223.5 million. Those figures include about $15 million in payments to County Conservation Districts, Pa. Conservation Commission, PUC, DEP, Fish and Boat Commission, Emergency Management Agency, Dept. of Transportation and Office of State Fire Commissioner.
Under Act 13, 60 percent of the total fees collected go to counties and local governments and 40 percent to the state. The state’s portion is to be used for emergency response planning, training and other activities; water, storm water, and sewer system construction and repair; infrastructure maintenance and repair; as well as environmental initiatives. County and local governments can use the funds for preservation and reclamation of water supplies; improvements to local roads and bridges; construction and repair of water and sewer systems; delivery of social services; local tax reduction; housing; conservation districts; emergency preparedness and flood plain management.
The 60 percent of the fees not retained by the state are distributed as follows: 36 percent to county governments with wells subject to the fee; 37 percent for host municipalities with wells subject to the fee; and 27 percent for all local governments in counties with wells. Both the PUC and the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection have posted information about the Act 13 impact fee and related topics on their websites.