Now that it is time to spend the impact fee, Butler County and Connoquinessing Township are looking to ignore the portion of the law that states it must be used on impacts “associated with natural gas production from unconventional gas wells within the county or municipality” (Act 13 §2314-g). They plan to use it to cover cutbacks from the state and throw it into the general fund.
Even the prime sponsor of Act 13, Brian Ellis and PA House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turzai agree.
“Impact fees generally, and this one in particular, are used to pay for a number of uncompensated cost that are currently being absorbed by local communities and the state. These include upgrades to effected roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, which are being strained, admittedly, by increased usage.”
Whatever project – whether township, borough or county-level, can only use the money for restoration or repairs," he said. "They can’t use it for anything else. We're not giving them an additional revenue that they could spend willy-nilly," he continued (Olson, 2011)
(2) Water, storm water and sewer systems, including construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair.
(5) Preservation and reclamation of surface and subsurface waters and water supplies.
As you can clearly see, both the intention and the letter of Act 13 regarding the Impact Fee mandate that any money received under §2314 be spent on those impacted by “natural gas production from unconventional gas wells.” And unless there are other communities or individuals that fit that description, you are obligated to spend the full $1.1 million on the Woodlands community.
Marcellus Outreach Butler is a group of Butler County, Pennsylvania individuals and coalitions concerned about the health and safety of our communities due to horizontal, slickwater, hydrofracture drilling in Marcellus Shale for the extraction of natural gas.
Biller, Ed. “Neighbors Continue Battle about Water.” Butler Eagle 19 Jan. 2013.
Garrett, Kelly B. “Marcellus Shale Windfall Unspent.” Butler Eagle 2 Jan. 2013.
Olson, Laura. “Ellis: impact fee for locals only.” Post-Gazette 16 June 2011.