The Public Utility Commission last week announced that communities in my district will get nearly $20 million to use for parks, police, social programs or other projects.
The money comes from the Marcellus Shale impact fee, and cash-strapped local governments in Washington and Greene counties are receiving some of the highest totals in the state.
In fact, one in five dollars headed to local communities for projects is coming to these two counties.
When I addressed the 97th annual convention of Greene County Association of Township Officials at the county fairgrounds, most of what I heard is that it’s good news at a time when county and municipal governments could use some. (Greene County municipalities will receive a total of $4.5 million and the county will get another $3.1 million in direct payments.)
I’m still hearing about problems with Act 13, the law that put the impact fees in place, and I said when we passed the bill that it wasn’t ideal.
But those of us who supported it had to face the reality that two years of trench warfare over Marcellus Shale cost our local governments millions at a time when they badly needed investment in infrastructure to keep up with the expanding economy.
There is certainly room for improvement in the volumes of Pennsylvania statutes passed through political compromise over the years, but I encourage local communities to comply with the law while working to change it so they can take advantage of its benefits.