Drilling Revenue Could Go Up in Smoke, and Fast

Tapping in on the Marcellus Shale bonanza is the Mon Valley community of McKeesport, which just announced a deal to allow drilling on 27 acres near a park (which is designated as a regional park and qualifies for funding from the Regional Asset District, $10 million from 1995-2010) in return for a $10k annual fee and 12.5% in royalties.

One member of Council said that "It’s another revenue stream for the city…it can really boost our budget in portions we’ve never seen before."

What are the unseen spending areas that the Councilman refers to? The 2008 audited data that we collected for our most recent report shows that McKeesport spent $974 per capita-the countywide municipal average was $629-and had higher per capita spending levels on general government, public safety, sanitation, recreation, debt service, and already carries three times the debt than the average municipality. The only area where McKeesport spent less than average was on highways.

After spending on police, parks, refuse, administration, and debt-and at a higher rate than the typical town in the County-is there really any other service area the municipality needs to engage in?