Marcellus Shale development and, more specifically, the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee has been quite the economic boon to Mt. Pleasant Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.
Thanksgiving is an appropriate time to reflect on the benefits of Marcellus Shale, which are many and quite varied. It provides lease payments, royalties, jobs, reductions in carbon emissions, open space protection and new sources of revenues to governments at every level. Let’s focus on just one tiny bit of that in a place called Mt. Pleasant Township. It is located in the heart of the Southwestern Pennsylvania shale region. There are several Mt. Pleasant Townships in Pennsylvania but this one is found in Washington County. It is about 36 square miles in size and is home to roughly 3,500 people. It also has numerous Marcellus Shale wells.
Those Marcellus Shale gas wells have had quite the positive economic impact on Mt. Pleasant Township. A visit to the Department of Community and Economic Development “Municipal Statistics” web page provides financial data on the township from 2006 through 2014. We decided to look at the period from 2009 to 2014, which includes three years of Marcellus Shale Impact Fee payments and three years before that as well for comparison. The Townships has had five major sources of revenue over that period. Here’s how they have changed:
Marcellus Shale Impact Fee revenue of $511,542 in 2012 increased Township revenues 35% over the year earlier. It then grew to $600,295 in 2014. Just as importantly, real estate tax revenue has grown 23% over the six years and earned income tax revenue has grown 52%.
Township residents can also be pleased with how the Township has used the money; by putting it into capital projects:
Such funding, of course, reduces the impact on Township taxpayers for infrastructure. Mt. Pleasant Township, in fact, put $1.1 million of impact fee money toward construction of a new sewage treatment plant to service about 650 homes. Such expenditures don’t include the out-of-pocket expenses paid by gas companies to upgrade roads, for example. They don’t include the extra earned income tax revenue that goes to pay for recreation facilities such as those depicted below.
Yes, all in all, Mt. Pleasant Township taxpayers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday as do most of the communities with natural gas development in this great Commonwealth.