2012-04-12 / Front Page

County Adopts Drilling Impact Fee Ordinance

Ruth Strait recognized for receiving certification
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

On the heels of a legal notice last week, the Fulton County commissioners moved forward Tuesday with the enactment of an impact fee ordinance that could potentially generate money if gas wells are drilled here in the future.

Adopting a model ordinance originally released by the County Commissioners’ Association of Pennsylvania, the “Unconventional Gas Well Fee” ordinance stipulates a fee will be imposed on each future unconventional gas well or “spud” drilled in this county.

As outlined through Act 13 of 2012, the impact fee schedule for horizontal wells is based on the year of the well as well as the average price of natural gas. The schedule outlines wells dug over a 15-year time frame and ranges in fees from $5,000 to $60,000.

The Act additionally stipulates that effective January 1, 2014, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) can adjust the fee annually to reflect any changes in the consumer price index for all urban consumers for the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland areas in the preceding 12 months. The adjustment, however, can only occur in the event the total number of wells in a given year exceeds the number of wells in the prior year.

In meeting with solicitor Stanley Kerlin on the matter, the commissioners learned in order receive any possible money through the ordinance, the county was required to formally adopt the document within 60 days of the act’s amendment. The money can be used to address issues such as infrastructure needs arising from drilling. Funds are collected by the PUC and are in turn disbursed to eligible counties.

Other questions posed to Kerlin on Tuesday included whether a judge of elections can also serve as a township auditor; the status of county borrowing; and payment of a sign for a private road. In regard to the sign, the commissioners agreed to purchase “one and only one sign” for Clopper Farm Lane. The roadway was previously named Bain Lane but was changed by the local Planning Commission after a dispute arose between three families residing on the lane located off Route 655. Replacement of signs in the future will be the responsibility of the residents, the commissioners said.

County EMA/911 Director Ruth Strait was recognized by Pennsylvania EMA Central Area Director Fred Boylstein for the completion of her emergency management basic certification. The certification is required within one year of being named EMA director.

Strait stated even though it took a long time to reach the goal, it was certainly well worth the wait.

Advanced certification can be obtained, according to Boylstein, within three years of being named director. Strait, it was noted, will be working on completing this follow-up certification in upcoming years.

A proposal submitted by Smith’s Detections was accepted for on-site service of the courthouse’s X-ray equipment. The company will perform any necessary work over the year year for the amount of $3,179.

In addition, the commissioners penned a maintenance contract with Dyna Tech of Cornwall, Pa., for a 12-month period slated to begin April 10. The fee in connection with the contract has been recorded at $1,106.

A revision was made to a section of the county’s personnel manual as it pertains to the Family Medical Leave Act.

An application for liquid fuel funding in the amount of $2,100 was approved as submitted by the Licking Creek Township Board of Supervisors.

Business manager Tim Stanton sat down with the commissioners this week to discuss a multitude of issues, including the installation of a motionsensing faucet in the probation office laboratory at a cost of $898.68. The commissioners commented on the costly bill, and questioned if the new faucet could be sent back and the faulty faucet repaired as previously requested.

Stanton also met with the commissioners behind closed doors for approximately 30 minutes to discuss personnel-related matters. No formal action was taken upon reconvening.

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