Gas Inflates City’s Budget

Obviously stung by the impending loss of 600 jobs at the Direct TV call center, officials in the City of McKeesport are already prepared to jump on the next big thing-natural gas contained in the Marcellus Shale formation under the City. The City would like to try and lease its rights to companies interested in drilling for the gas and want to be compensated for it.

No problem there. The Commonwealth plans on doing the same thing. In fact, just this week the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced plans to lease close to 32,000 acres for drilling. At a hoped lease price of $2k an acre, the state wants to net $60 million.

McKeesport likewise has the same visions of revenue. In fact, they are so eager to see a deal through that "even though revenue from land and natural gas leases and wastewater treatment was too early to project, the mayor planned to factor it into next year’s budget."

That’s awful foolhardy, but not surprising in the Pittsburgh region. This past week has presented a trio of over-reaching revenue efforts with the County’s non-profit fee, the City of Pittsburgh’s tuition tax, and now McKeesport counting on non-existent industry to fill a budget.