STEUBENVILLE - The Marcellus shale energy exploration is having a positive effect on real estate valuation - and taxes paid - in Jefferson County.
Louis "Dobie" Piergallini, Jefferson County's chief deputy auditor, explained during the annual meeting of the Jefferson County Tax Incentive Review Council, that the energy leasing that is taking place across the county is driving values upward.
Piergallini said one indication is that there
are more separate parcels of real estate, meaning people are parting out larger parcels.
"That's a sign of progress, and it's usually a good sign," Piergallini explained.
He said as a result of the energy leasing, the county has a couple hundred more separate parcels of taxable real estate than it did in 2010, for a total of 58,459 parcels. The majority of the county's real estate by parcel is residential, at 40,856 pieces of property.
The shale drilling leases are pushing up the value of rural land.
"I've been with the county for 15 years, and it used to be that land sold for $300 to $500 an acre," he said. Now, with separate mineral and land values, he's seeing values of between $2,000 and $3,000 an acre.
He said there are often separate sales of land and the mineral values.
"Everyone wants to own the minerals now. Before, if you said 'gas' and 'Jefferson County,' it was considered worthless," he said.
There have been a dozen state permits issued for shale drilling in Jefferson County beginning in 2008.
Piergallini said the fees the county charges for land conveyances have risen from a trough in 2009.
The county charges $4 per $1,000 in valuation for a real estate conveyance. From about $425,000 collected in 2006, which would mean about $106 million in real estate changing hands.
In 2009, the conveyance fee reached only about $200,000 in revenues collected, or about $50 million in property changing hands. Piergallini said the number rebounded to more than $300,000 collected in 2010 and he is projecting about $375,000 for this year. That would mean about $93.75 million in property changing hands, an indication of greater economic activity.
(Giannamore's e-mail address is email@example.com.)