Commissioners Approve Development of Plan for Marcellus Shale
Susquehanna County Commissioners have approved a proposal to develop an “annex” to the county’s existing County Emergency Operations Plan for Marcellus Shale emergencies. In this case the word “annex” has nothing to do with a building addition, but rather an addendum to the exiting emergency plans for the county. This will “help Charlene Moser (Director of EMA) add to the in-place emergency operations.” It will develop an extension of policies and procedures.
The proposal that was developed for the policy extension for Marcellus Shale emergencies has a total cost of $5,000, which will be paid for through Hazmat Funding. PEMA will reimburse the Hazmat Fund with $4,000 of that fee through the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Planning Grant. A related question about whether the county has done anything to get an alternate site for 9-1-1 and EMA, revealed they are looking at buildings, but that the main concern is money. Currently, they have consoles (the equipment used to take emergency calls) but no separate space, as required. In the meantime, an emergency that made the current facility inoperable would cause them to go through Wyoming County or a mobile unit as their backup.
A new security camera will be installed in the courthouse for $1,200, with a maintenance plan with an annual fee of $400. New Era Security, Inc. of Waymart will supply the camera and service.
A proclamation declaring April 24-May 1 as Stewardship Week was passed at this last commissioners’ meeting, which occurred on April 27. The proclamation listed the value of trees, soil and clean water and called for “each person to help conserve these precious resources.” There were no specifics on what should or could be done to accomplish that goal.
During public comment time potential taxes on natural gas were discussed. Cheryl Matulevich, representing the Farm Bureau, said that the governor “doesn’t support severance tax” on gas extraction. Commissioner Leon Allen said that they had been discussing the impact fee, not the severance tax. Senator Gene Yaw is trying to get legislation passed, Senate Bill 744, according to Commissioner Michael Giangrieco. This bill would make gas and royalty interests assessed as part of property real estate tax. He said people need to be aware of this and to be against it. It is “against landowners,” Giangrieco said. Under this proposal, gas would be assessed even before it was extracted or even if it was never extracted, leaving the property owner with higher taxes.
Matelevich also talked about Senate Bill 993, which is in committee, regarding the milk marketing board. She explained it would help dairy farmers immensely because the cost and profit would be figured at the plant, not the farm.