Natural gas funds used to pay American Idol contestant? A look inside Pa.’s impact fee – PennLive.com

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One municipality used its Marcellus Shale proceeds to pay for fireworks, a bouncy house and a performance by an American Idol contestant.

In one county, the impact fees went toward a playground, a portable boat dock and a community theater to “increase curb appeal.”

Another community used its money to construct ball fields, a gazebo and a park pavilion.

“I am pro-people having fun at the holidays,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Tuesday. “I just don’t believe the impact fees should be funding fireworks celebrations.”

When they were first rolled out in 2012 as part of Act 13, the fees gas companies pay based on the wells they drill were pitched as a way to offset infrastructure costs incurred via environmental impacts and increased traffic. In 2015, they brought in $187.7 million, a large portion of which funnels through the Public Utility Commission to counties…

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