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Commissioners Sign Gas Lease Deal With MNW Energy for County Home Property
Posted on: 05/23/2014
By  Justin Bradley

A deal in the works since January has been finalized, as the Washington County Commissioners have signed a drilling deal worth $1.25 million.
The commissioners signed the lease with Marietta-based MNW Energy LLC to lease county lands for drilling on Thursday, and they say there could be a lot of investment money coming to the county in the next few years.
The land in question, located in Marietta Township, surrounds the Washington County Home and includes nearly 265 acres. At least 15 acres will be used for a gathering pipeline. Although there can be no surface disturbances on the 100 acres closest to the County Home, the remaining 150 acres are fair game for drilling.
MNW officials told the Marietta Times that Oklahoma-based Protégé Energy is providing the money in the lease deal, and their in-county investments have reached $31 million, which more to come.
What do the Commissioners plan to do with the money? David White told WMOA News this morning…
“We need to keep in mind that this is a ‘windfall’. You need to look at it as a one-time revenue. If you don’t designate it that way – and use it for things like capital improvements – it’ll be assimilated into the general budget, and that’ll be foolish.”
White says $800,000 will be designated toward capital improvement to help ensure tangible benefits from the deal. The other $450,000 will go into budget stabilization—which isn’t binding for future commissioners.
He explains one benefit from made possible by a budget stabilization fund... 
“One of the things we’re looking at down the road is that, while any government or business that pays (employees) every two weeks, once every few years you end up paying 27 times instead of 26. So having a stabilization fund helps soften the blow when he have that extra pay (period).”    
The lease amount works out to about $4,735 per acre. 
Story reported by Justin Bradley; edited and posted by Mike Cullums
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