Bradford County’s Plan For Impact Fee Money

Bradford County Plans With Impact Fees

Bradford County (WENY) -- Bradford County officials are eager to start spending millions of dollars coming from the gas drilling impact fee in Pennsylvania.

Commissioner Doug McLinko says Bradford County is already one of the most fiscally sound counties in the state, but there's always room for improvement.

"We're going to make it better," McLinko said. "We're going to have no debt. We're going to have tax decreases, and everything we do is going to have the tax payer in mind."

Governor Corbett signed a new law in February requiring energy companies to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 for each gas well -- and there's 4,500 of them. Sixty percent of the fee will go to 37 counties and hundreds of municipalities where there are wells.

"The money is not going to be spent for anything but job creation," said McLinko. "It could be some seed money to bring in a plant. It could be some seed money to help with an industrial park. It could be whatever will build tax base in our county."

Bradford County is working with the area's Progress Authority on a strategy to get the most uses -- and money -- out of the gas.

"That comes in the form of energy generation, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas," said Anthony Ventello,  Progress Authority's executive director. "Also distribution, improved distribution so that businesses and homeowners can get access to this."

The money could also be used to fix sewer systems and roads, buy equipment for first responders and to protect the water supply.

"Whether it's a small municipality, county, state or a country, and then cut taxes, real job growth and economic development -- it's just an exciting thing to do," added McLinko.