Nearly $8 million available to tackle Marcellus housing needs
HARRISBURG - A state housing agency will meet Thursday to distribute nearly $8 million for projects to build and rehabilitate rental units and single-family homes and also help individuals pay rent in 20 counties throughout the Marcellus Shale drilling region.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's governing board will approve applications seeking a share of the initial outlay of revenue from impact fees going for housing needs in the region. A number of drilling counties in Northeast Pennsylvania have applications awaiting approval at this meeting.
PHFA will allocate a $2.5 million direct earmark for housing needs from fees collected from drilling companies for 2011 gas production. Added to this earmark is another $5.4 million available for housing from so-called surpluses in impact fees going to municipalities that have approved impact fee ordinances.
The 2012 state impact fee law caps what a single municipality can receive in impact fee revenue at $500,000 or 50 percent of its operating budget. Any excess amount which mainly applies to rural municipalities with numerous gas wells goes for housing needs.
"We will be able to fund a fair number of very good projects," said Bryce Maretzki, PHFA director of business development, during a housing conference this week sponsored by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.
PHFA is considering applications from 20 of the 36 counties with drilling fee ordinances.
Maretzki estimated the 2011 impact fee revenue will go to help build 300 new rental units and three dozen homes and help 166 families pay rent. These projects will also draw on other sources of private and public funds.
PHFA will have a $5 million direct earmark from impact fees available next year. Maretzki anticipates a similar amount will be available from excess municipal fees.
The impact fee law specifies that a portion of impact fees revenue go to help low-income families and for use in lesser populated rural counties.
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