New Castle News

September 11, 2013

County’s shale allocation more than budgeted

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Lawrence County commissioners are welcoming a bundle of joy — more revenue than they expected from Marcellus Shale.

Altogether this year, the county received $207,000, which included $76,000 in Marcellus Shale legacy funds —  $58,126 of that amount was not anticipated and not included int the 2013 budget last year, according to county administrator James Gagliano.

The final allocation numbers were not released until this summer, and the money was received in August, he explained.

An impact fee fund set up by the state is divided among  counties and municipalities.

The county receives Marcellus Shale impact fee money in    a legacy fund distributed among all 67 counties. It receives additional funds because gas and oil drilling is occurring within its borders.

Those allocations reflect the previous year’s drilling activity.

The county received $131,833 this year forgas drilling, and a total of $75,813.68 as its legacy disbursement.

Commissioner Dan Vogler said yesterday he has yet to understand, in the legacy fund distribution and why some counties that have no drilling get more than others.

Shale impact fee funds that go to counties and municipalities with well drilling activity — and those that border municipalities where wells are drilled — were significantly higher in Lawrence County this year than last year since more wells were drilled in 2012.

Pulaski Township received the most — $38,407. The township was a hub of large drilling rigs last year and this year by Hilcorp Energy. In comparison,  the township’s allocation last year, for its 2011 activity, was only $302.

Also receiving significant money this year, for last year’s drilling activity, were Scott Township, with $29,942, in comparison to $190 it received for 2011; North Beaver Township, $33,818, compared to $2,688 received in 2011; Perry Township, $23,111, compared to $1,113 in 2011; and Little Beaver Township, $29,694, compared to $19,956 in 2011.

Marcellus Shale activity actually began in Little Beaver Township in 2011, when Shell Appalachia drilled a natural gas well on the Patterson farm.

New Castle received $19,203 this year, compared to $1,281 a year ago. The city borders North Beaver Township, which saw a significant amount of drilling last year and this year.