County on Verge of Enacting Impact Fee

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Commissioners in Lycoming County plan to approve an impact fee Thursday that would mean millions of dollars for the county.

As the mid-April deadline for counties to adopt the impact fee approaches, Lycoming County is set to extract its due from the natural gas industry.

County leaders expect to vote in favor of the fee that would cost gas companies tens of thousands of dollars for each well for years to come.

"It's not a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things but it's a help," said Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland.

Lycoming County stands to receive about $10 million by the end of the year, according to Wheeland who served on Governor Corbett's Marcellus Shale Task Force that recommended the impact fee. About one-third will go to the county, the rest to boroughs and townships to address needs like road improvements, bridge repair, housing and more.

"It's now our opportunity for us to take those dollars we may secure from this and make sure we address those impacts," said Deputy Director of Planning for Lycoming County Bill Kelly.

In Hughesville, Matt Yeager opened Not Just A Bean Cafe in order to capitalize on the gas industry and believes there are impacts that need to be addressed.

"There's definitely things that need to be paid attention to, they need to be looked into, let's hope whatever agreement it does good for everybody," said Yeager.

Lycoming County is in the process of identifying what local impacts there are and according to officials, there are 173 infrastructure projects alone totaling more than $2 billion. Not all the projects are a direct result of the gas industry said Wheeland, but they are interrelated.

"These fees go on for decades," added Wheeland. "As long as we have the lists prioritized and start picking them off, eventually all residents in the county will see a benefit from these fees."

The Lycoming County Board of Commissioners meets 10 a.m. Thursday in Williamsport.

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