Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Pennsylvania PUC Asks Localities to Fix Impact Fee Forms

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has asked about 70 municipalities to correct and resubmit a form showing how they spent their share of impact fee revenue from Act 13, the state's omnibus Marcellus Shale law.

PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher told NGI's Shale Daily the agency was placing calls and following up with the municipalities to correct reporting errors for the 2012 tax year.

"There's been a little bit of a misunderstanding in how the forms needed to be filled out," Kocher said Thursday. "There's about 70 [municipalities] that had filed with zeroes the whole way up and down [the form], as opposed to filling in one of the 13 categories where you're eligible to spend your Act 13 money."

According to Kocher, the agency had to use paper forms this year but would be switching to an electronic system for the 2013 tax year. "This year, and only this year, we had to do it as a paper filing," Kocher said. "We just didn't have the computer system ready. With all of the other computer modules we were developing, this was kind of our last step."

The PUC is still waiting for forms from about 300 municipalities for the 2012 tax year. The deadline was April 15. Kocher said 1,485 municipalities in the state were required to file the form with the agency because they received impact fee revenue based on natural gas production in their locale. She said that as of Thursday, about 1,000 municipalities had submitted their forms correctly.

"We are still missing a few [forms from municipalities] that haven't turned them over to us," Kocher said, but she added that the municipalities "may have posted it to their own website, which was required under the law, or they may just not have mailed us the information. We have some follow-up that we're working on."

Act 13, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett in February 2012, amended Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and empowered the PUC to collect an impact fee on natural gas production on behalf of local governments (see Shale Daily, Feb. 15, 2012). The PUC finalized impact fee procedures last May (see Shale Daily, May 11, 2012).

The PUC originally published a distribution list for impact fee revenue on Oct. 15 but rescinded it later that month (see Shale Daily, Oct. 29, 2012; Oct. 16, 2012). In November the agency had to recalculate the distributions after determining that an error occurred over how it applied the five linear mile rule for calculating impact fee revenue (see Shale Daily, Nov. 15, 2012).

Last December, the PUC voted to clarify several portions of Act 13 as to how it pertains to levying the unconventional natural gas drilling impact fee (see Shale Daily, Dec. 21, 2012).

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