Lancaster County will receive a little over half a million dollars as its 2014 share of the so-called drilling Impact Fee, meant to help municipalities offset impacts associated with natural gas drilling.
The Impact Fee, or Act 13, was signed into effect in 2012 by Governor Tom Corbett. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is responsible for collecting a fee from drillers and then disbursing it to counties across the state to facilitate improvement programs and various repairs or infrastructure upgrades.
Lancaster county's 2014 share is $507,694.29 from the state's total of $223.5 million. The amount is marginally higher than what the county received in 2013. State-wide collection was marginally less than what it got in 2013.
The county uses the proceeds for preserving farmlands and repair of public infrastructure such as bridges.
"The impact fee is very valuable to the county. We have invested the Legacy Portion of the funds in our nation-leading Agriculture Preserve Program directly and with challenge grants to the Lancaster Farmland Trust," said county commissioner Dennis Stuckey.
Stuckey added, "The Restricted Transportation Funds on hand will be invested in the rehabilitation of three bridges this year. With the continued receipt of approximately $770,000 per year coupled with Liquid Fuel Funds the county can reduce the number of structurally deficient standard bridges from 33 to 13 by 2018."
There are 64 bridges in Lancaster County.
Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Spigelmyer said in a statement, “These tax revenues are essential to county and local government budgets, helping to stabilize and even lower taxes for Pennsylvania families. What’s more, these special natural gas tax revenues,, which are overwhelmingly sent directly to local governments rather than Harrisburg, are enabling important infrastructure and other vital community improvement projects.”
Payments are due to state agencies and county and municipal governments on July 1, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.