Greene County and several municipalities within the county recently received pretty hefty checks from Harrisburg representing their share of the impact fees generated by Act 13, the new Pennsylvania law governing oil and gas drilling.
Greene County’s check totaled $3.1 million and Cumberland Township, which has the distinction of getting the largest amount of all municipalities in the state, received a little more than $1 million.
The disbursements were the first issued under Act 13 and are for fees collected in the current year.
An additional disbursement is expected in June, and if drilling activity continues at a similar pace, the county and local municipalities were told they can expect a similar windfall then.
The program is new and the law includes restrictions on uses of the money that local elected officials have had to consider in preparing spending plans.
The county commissioners earlier announced a list of projects that will be funded with the initial disbursement of money. At a meeting two weeks ago, Cumberland Township supervisors also laid out their plans for use of the funds.
We have no issue with how the county or township plans to spend the money and feel sure it is being used well. But we do wish to note that neither the county nor the township ever asked the public for input on how it will be used. The public should have a say in how it will be spent.
A woman did attend the Cumberland Township meeting with a suggestion on how the money could be used and was told the supervisors would consider the request.
A formal public input process, with hearings and testimony, is not necessary. Just a simple announcement that anyone with ideas should submit them would suffice.