Communities defend expenditures from gas well impact fees _ triblive

When Aaron Karasack’s little brothers use the Hutchinson village playground in Sewickley Township, he says they don’t think about how the swings, slides and jungle gym were paid for.

The township completed the playground project using a $25,000 grant from the playground equipment company and about $65,000 generated by a per-well fee the state imposed in 2012 to offset impacts of natural gas production. Youtube gas monkey Auditor General Eugene DePasquale considers the Sewickley playground a “questionable expense,” he told the Tribune-Review.

“I think playgrounds are great,” DePasquale said. Gas x reviews ratings “However, when the bill was passed the idea was to remedy environmental damage and damage from the drilling. N gas in paris lyrics It’s not a playground fund.”

DePasquale’s office issued a report last week questioning certain public expenditures of impact fee money, including for expenses such as parks and recreation, balanced budgets and payroll. Gas 4 less manhattan ks The sample used in the report did not specifically address Westmoreland County municipalities that get impact fee money, including Hempfield, Derry and Sewickley townships.

“If the auditor general wanted to come in and audit the way we spent these funds, I’d be pretty comfortable, honestly,” said Alan Fossi, a Sewickley Township supervisor who supported the playground project.

David Sanko, head of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, chided DePasquale for focusing his criticism on the local governments.

“If the auditor general takes issue with the commonwealth’s rules governing the eligible expenditure of the gas well impact fees, he should not take that out on our member townships who have only been abiding by the rules as laid out,” Sanko said.

Act 13, the law that established the impact fee, requires the funds be used for one of 13 purposes, including environmental projects such as parks and recreation, public infrastructure and stormwater management. Gas laws worksheet answers chemistry Last week, DePasquale called for the Legislature to narrow the categories and provide greater state oversight on project expenditures.

Legislators are looking at tweaking the law, but the categories were created “to give flexibility to meet the community’s unique needs,” House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin said.

The Tribune-Review reviewed the gas well reports of the five-largest recipients of impact fee funds in Westmoreland County — Derry, Hempfield, Sewickley, South Huntingdon and Washington — to check how they spent the fee collected and distributed by the Public Utility Commission.

David Slifka, a Derry supervisor, said the money has “kept taxes at bay” by helping the township cover costly items such as stormwater management and infrastructure projects. Gas constant The township used the impact fee for a mower and asphalt and is planning to buy a $130,000 truck for salting roads and other public works needs, he said.

That amount pales in comparison to the roughly $250,000 Cumberland Township in Greene County spent for a park, gazebo, ball fields and restrooms — an expenditure deemed questionable in DePasquale’s report.

“I think we’re very careful; we follow the guidelines,” Slifka said. Gasbuddy login Another $4,375 was used to buy three new computers at the township building.

Hempfield Township puts its funding into the capital reserve account, which it then taps for equipment expenditures, said Manager Andrew Walz. Electricity questions grade 6 The township has spent $100,000 of the nearly $600,000 received since 2011 and is planning to buy a new plow truck, which costs roughly $140,000, to help with fleet turnover.

Richard Gardner, Washington Township supervisor, said the impact fee money over the years has been used for roads or construction equipment. E85 gas stations florida This year, the township spent roughly $110,000 to purchase a new dump truck that will be used to plow roads this winter and another $178,000 to pay for work on three bridges that the township has waited to fix for 10 years.

Richard Gates, a South Huntingdon Township supervisor, said the nearly $900,000 the township has received since 2011 helps “keep things rolling.” The township spent a little more than half, or roughly $496,000, on public infrastructure equipment, including new dump trucks and a wood chipper.

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