Fire Department to Benefit from Gas Well Impact Money

West Hills Emergency Services

West Hills Emergency Services (formerly the East Franklin Township Fire Department) has plans to build a new building. Township supervisors put aside $50,000 from the Act 13 Marcellus Shale fund for their use.

A fee imposed on shale gas wells is providing additional spending money to municipalities in Armstrong County.

It’s called an Act 13 Impact Fee that is paid by extractors of Marcellus gas to the state, and trickles down to counties across Pennsylvania.

Manor Township budgeted $30,000 income from Act 13, but received $130,000.

At last week’s public meeting in East Franklin Township, supervisors reported a similar windfall.  The budget planned for $120,000   but the township actually received $390,569.23.

The supervisors plan to spend it in four areas.

  • $280,569.23 – Supervisor Barry Peters said a large lump-sum payment on the township’s mortgage will result is big savings.

“We plan on putting $200,000 on the mortgage of the building, which will save us approximately $30,000 in interest,” Peters explained. “We had a $1.5 million mortgage that we owe $665,000. With a $200,000 payment, that will bring it down to $465,000. This will help us to get the building paid off. $80,569.23 will be used for equipment.”

  • $30,000 – Supervisor David Stewart said $30,000 would be used to pay the 2019 payment of sewage line installation that was done approximately ten years ago.

“When there was discussion on building a shopping center out on Butler Road on the Heyman farm, we needed sewage out that direction and Furnace Run needed sewage. So the water company put a big package together to install water and sewage at the same time. Our portion of it is a payment of $30,000 per year for 20 years.”

  • $50,000 – Stewart said fellow supervisors are allocating $50,000 for use in a special project for the West Hills Emergency Services fire department.

“We’re going to hold that $50,000 for the fire department. If they need something – like a match to get a grant – we can help them out. We are not going to give them the money, but it’s available to them. With some grants, they could get $50,000 for a project if they would match it with $50,000 of local money,” Stewart said.

Peters said the fire department may want to use it as the start of a fund-raising campaign to build a new facility.

“They sent out a donation letter. One of the things they said they wanted to do was build a new building. So if they decide to do that, they could use the $50,000 towards raising money for that,” Peters said.

  • $30,000 – Stewart said the remaining $30,000 would be used for future improvements at Heritage Park. Stewart is hoping to secure more grants in the future and this money could be used for local match.