Commissioners’ Galeton Town Meeting Focus Is Gas Industry

Potter County Today

townmeetingsPotter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel held their fourth in a series of six “town meetings” Wednesday night in Galeton. Much of the 90-minute dialogue focused on the natural gas industry and its impact on the region. One citizen said the Galeton area has experienced inconvenience and disruptions as a result of nearby gas drilling, including road damage, noise and disrespectful behavior by itinerant workers. Long-time Galeton resident Mike Hoza criticized the state government for failure to pass a severance tax on gas produced in the state and share the proceeds with local governments. The commissioners responded that there is a new move afoot in the legislature to impose an “impact fee,” in lieu of the severance tax, and steer the resultant revenue to local communities that are being affected by the drilling. There was consensus among most of those present that the industry holds great potential to improve the region’s economy and produce a wide variety of skilled and unskilled jobs.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, local teenager Christopher Cizek asked the commissioners for suggestions on how to develop a skateboard park in the area. Galeton Area School officials voiced their support for the commissioners’ efforts to lobby the state government for more flexibility in the use of funding for mandated programs. The commissioners also said they’ve been monitoring a recurring effort in Harrisburg to require consolidation of smaller townships and boroughs across the state and do not believe the measure has much political support.

Remaining schedule for the commissioners’ town meetings is as follows (all meetings at 7 pm):

  • Monday, Nov. 15, Oswayo Valley High School.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16, Coudersport Area Elementary School.

Format of the meetings is informal. Following brief presentations from each of the commissioners, the floor will be open to questions and a roundtable discussion of issues affecting the county and/or local communities. Although the meetings are open to all, the commissioners are especially encouraging attendance by residents of the school district where each meeting is being held.

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