Shale companies costing Jay Twp. money

JAY TWP. - According to the Jay Township Board of Supervisors, the municipality and its taxpayers are footing increasingly large bills for communications made by Marcellus Shale companies utilizing the PA One Call (PAOC) system.According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the function of the PAOC is to prevent damage to underground facilities by informing excavators, contractors, plumbers, builders, designers, and the general public of where underground lines are located before any projects in which earth will be disturbed commence. At the recent meeting of the Jay Township Board of Supervisors, during the approval of bills and review of an itemized list of the township's expenditures each month, supervisors noted August 2012 showed a charge thus far of $147.90 for the PA One Call system. According to records, that is the highest charge posted for PAOC this year and supervisors are attributing the rise to the increased seismic testing activity in the area. "In the last few months here with this gas drilling and all these PA One Calls that they've been doing, we got a $140 bill and last month $150. We're paying for this and it's not our PA One calls," Supervisor Fran Gustafson said. While an annual fee of $100 is charged to members, including water, natural gas, pipeline, and electric companies, as well as municipalities, additional fees for use of the PAOC's Call Center and message handling are also billed to members. "It's only $.85 per call but it's the seismic testing, they just keep renewing and renewing [PAOC membership]," Supervisor Jeremy Rippey said. Also discussed at the meeting was the the possibility of the township reclaiming any of the PAOC-related costs. Resident Bob Coppolo said that supervisors should contact representatives of EQT, which has a strong presence in the area, and "tell them how it's depleting township resources."