Gas Impact Fee a Windfall for Township

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WELLS TOWNSHIP -- A day after finding out how much money it will get from the state's natural gas impact fee, one community in Bradford County has decided how to spend some of it.

Wells Township is living up to its name and is reaping the benefits of gas drilling within its borders.

In rural Wells Township, population a shade under 1,000 people, the number of natural gas wells is about to pay off.

With about 60 wells, the township near Troy stands to make the most allowed under the state's impact fee: $500,000.

"It was like Christmas yesterday when we heard the news, it's exciting," said township supervisor John Shimko.

Township supervisors said they expected to get only half that much from the impact fee which is paid by natural gas drillers. Instead, Wells Township will get nearly twice its annual budget this year alone.

"It'll help us upgrade our equipment, put gravel down on roads, it will help a lot," said township supervisor Tim Noble.

When the Mosherville Elementary School closed down, residents of Wells Township were left without a large enough place to meet as a community or even go to vote. Now the township is building a new community center with a little more than $100,000 of the impact fee money.

A crane lifted portions of the new community building into place. Next week the rest should be in place.

The benefits of the impact fee, according to township leaders, go far beyond just the building.

"One good part is, for the next several years, we're not going to have to raise taxes, people should like that," said Shimko.

Bruce Roy has lived in Wells Township all his life and said the impact fee should benefit everyone here.

"Being able to build the new community center for the township will be a benefit for all the residents of the township," said Roy.

Bradford County, where Wells Township is located, took home the most impact fee money this year with more than $8 million.