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Budgets should not be based on drilling revenue

January 15, 2012
Morning Journal News

Local municipalities should be wary of treating money from drilling leases like manna from heaven. Although the windfalls are welcome revenue, officials must keep in mind that this is most likely a one-time deal, or at best, a once every five years deal.

Some towns jumped in immediately and signed leases for which they received only $1,000 or $2,000 per acre. Others wisely waited and held out until now when the price per acre has increased to more than $5,000.

Regardless of how much they received, municipalities would be wise to use the unexpected funding for permanent repairs or improvements, rather than using it for operating expenses. Columbiana County commissioners and East Liverpool city officials have both said they do not intend to spend the money on salaries or wages. Others should follow suit.

While it's tempting to fill budget gaps with this money, officials must remember it won't be repeated next year, and they'll be hard-pressed to come up with revenue to replace it.



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