Handling a Windfall

THE VILLAGE of Barnesville is a scenic western Belmont County community with friendly residents and quality leadership. It is nationally known for its annual Pumpkin Festival which will be forthcoming later this month.

Barnesville grabbed the Ohio Valley spotlight this week for six million good reasons. Thanks to a well-thought out property transaction, the village is in the financial catbird seat.

It was announced at the village council meeting Monday night that Barnesville is in line to receive $6 million, courtesy of a land deal with Antero Resources.

The Denver-based shale oil producer is leasing 1,047 acres of Barnesville-owned property, outside the corporation limits, at $5,700 per acre. Moreover, the agreement calls for Barnesville to receive 20 percent production royalties.

Such multi-million dollar windfalls don’t come down the Ohio Valley pike often. We commend Barnesville’s leadership for brokering such an agreement, one which took a year in the making. Local attorney Ed Sustersic with key in making the deal become reality in cooperation with the Utica Landowners Group LLC.

Now, Barnesville’s governmental leaders have the task of how to best utilize the money. Obviously, proceeding cautiously is the first route to go.

Proper planning is paramount. Input from all sectors of the community is needed.

Much good can be done with such a large sum. But prudent spending is a must. The creation of a rainy day fund would also be wise.

It is good to see Barnesville realize such a golden opportunity. We hope more local communities also can land their piece of the shale oil pie.