Auditor says clearer rules needed for drilling impact fees

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A new report from Pennsylvania’s auditor general says better guidance is needed for local governments about spending impact fees generated by natural gas drilling activity in their area.

Democratic Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Tuesday that about a quarter of the money he examined that was distributed to local governments under a 2012 state law has gone for what he considers questionable expenditures.

His investigators found spending on fireworks and inflatable rentals for a township’s recreational programs, payroll for prosecutors and probation officers and $20,000 for a community theater.

The state had distributed more than $850 million by the end of last year, a figure that includes $160 million to counties and $268 million to municipalities.

DePasquale is calling for improved spending guidelines, reporting rules and state oversight.

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