A bit of good news for Wellsville.. let us rephrase that, emphasizing what we consider great news for the Village, is the recent deal Village officials made with Chesapeake Energy. At a Special Council Meeting this past Friday the Wellsville Village Council voted unanimously to authorize Fiscal Officer Dale Davis to sign any and all documents necessary for the lease transaction with Chesapeake for oil and/or gas drilling as negotiated by ALOV (Associated Land Owners of the Ohio Valley). At a meeting last Saturday in Minerva that was arranged by ALOV officials those documents were signed by Mr. Davis.
We suspected something was soon to be resolved a couple of weeks ago when we spotted a small article in the Youngstown Vindicator. It pertained to ALOV finalizing a deal with drillers. After making inquiries locally to no avail we were left still wondering about Wellsville. All we could find out at the time was that no deal had been reached.
Back in April of this year there was a Council Property Committee meeting held with a representative from a company called Evenflow Eastern explaining some details about drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. The Property Committee is chaired by Councilwoman Susan Haugh and has Rosie Goss & Randy Allmon on it.
At another Property Committee meeting on July 12 Haugh brought in ALOV to explain what they do. ALOV is a nonprofit association that formed to represent landowners in negotiating the best contract possible with drilling companies. On July 28 another Special Council Meeting was held for the purpose of authorizing the Village to join ALOV. After that meeting everything got quiet about any drilling leases for Wellsville. At that time they were talking about leases going for around $2,200 an acre.
At the Meet the Candidates Night two weeks ago candidate for Mayor, Sue Haugh dropped another hint when she sent a note apologizing for not being present, saying she was at an out of town meeting in regards of for a brighter future for Wellsville. Arriving later she told all those assembled that she couldn't disclose her reason for missing the event but that she felt she was doing her job as a Councilwoman representing Wellsville “in your best interest”. She later advised us there would be an announcement on November 5.
Not finding anything in the papers on November 6 we contacted Mayor Joe Surace and bluntly asked if Wellsville had struck a deal with Chesapeake. He confirmed that they had but didn't have all the details and referred me to Councilwoman Haugh. Surace said she was at the Saturday meeting along with Fiscal Officer Davis.
Haugh finally filled us in on the basic details. Fiscal Officer Dale Davis signed an agreement with Chesapeake as negotiated by ALOV on Saturday for over 300 acres of Village owned property. Wellsville will get $5,800 an acre plus 20% royalties once drilling production begins. Chesapeake will pay the Village a lump sum amount of $1.9 million depending on title searches coming back clean with no encumbrances on any of the parcels of land. That amount will be paid to Wellsville as soon as the the title searches are completed . They have 90 days to accomplish that.
Once drilling is started there will be 20% royalties paid on any gas or oil produced. The royalties paid will be shared with all the landowners that were part of this most recent lease deal and paid monthly. If there is oil or gas found under the land of one of other property owners, say in Carroll County, that signed this latest agreement Wellsville will get a share of those royalties. Carroll County was use just as an example. We do not know the locations or the number of landowners involve in the deal struck Saturday in Minerva. The Village has the cemetery property, Hammonds Park, the old reservoir and the old garbage dump. Part of the lease stipulates there will not be any surface drilling in either the cemetery or Hammonds Park.
We do know that this is extremely good news especially when some Village officials are considering budget cuts. Property Chairwoman Haugh and her committee are to be commended. When filling us in on the details yesterday Haugh highly praised the work and professional efforts put forth by Fiscal Officer Dale Davis and Village Legal Advisor Attorney Andy Beech.
It is exciting news for the village …