[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Chester 2-15-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-2. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Any person or entity that requests that the Borough undertake an action, including but not limited to rezoning, vacation of streets, transfer of property, construction, installation, or maintenance of an existing or new improvement, which request specifically benefits a particular individual, entity, or property and results in the Borough incurring fees for professional services as defined in § 163-28B and C shall be responsible for payment of such fees. In the event of any question as to whether an action requested by a person or entity to be undertaken by the Borough falls within the coverage of this chapter, the governing body will make the final determination as to whether said request necessitates the depositing of funds in escrow to insure payment of costs incurred by the Borough. In the event the person or entity elects not to deposit required funds in escrow as required by this chapter, the Borough will be under no obligation to undertake a requested action.
The person or entity shall be required to establish an escrow account with the Borough to cover the reasonable costs incurred by the Borough for activities associated with or resulting from the requested activity. These activities include by way of example but in no way by limitation:
Preparation of documents such as, but not limited to, drafting resolutions and ordinances;
Review of documents, including but not limited to insurance certificates, performance and maintenance guaranties, deeds; and
Necessary correspondence with the person or entity requesting an activity or their professionals.
An applicant shall post a sum of money in escrow, in an amount estimated to be sufficient for the payment of such fees and services, prior to consideration of the application by the Borough. The Mayor and Council shall determine the amount of any escrow based upon the recommendation of the Borough Administrator.
Payments made by Chief Financial Officer. The Chief Financial Officer of the Borough shall make all of the payments or reimbursements to the Borough or professionals for services rendered to the Borough for review of the request, review and preparation of the documents, inspection of the improvements or other purposes. The amount of the escrow shall be determined by the Chief Financial Officer, taking into account the scope of the request and the projected involvement of the Borough's professionals. The escrow deposit shall be made prior to the time that any costs are incurred by the Borough for the processing of the request. Except as set forth to the contrary in this chapter, the escrow shall be administered in the same manner as set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53.2 and § 163-28 of the Code of the Borough of Chester.
Additional charges. The only costs that shall be added to any such charges shall be actual out-of-pocket expenses of any such professionals or consultants, including normal and typical expenses incurred in processing and responding to requests and inspecting improvements. The Borough shall not bill the person or entity depositing an escrow or charge any escrow account for any clerical or administrative functions performed by the Borough, overhead expenses, meeting room charges, or any other Borough costs and expenses, nor shall a Borough staff professional add any such charges to his bill.
Limitation on charges. Any charge against the escrowed funds by any professional shall be at the same rate as all other work of the same nature by the professional for the Borough when the fees are not reimbursed by the person or entity.
Review charges. All professional charges for review of a requested action and review and/or preparation of documents shall be reasonable and necessary, given the status and progress of the requested action.
Inspection fees. Inspection fees shall be charged for any inspection reasonably necessary to evaluate the request or check the progress and work quality of any action undertaken.
Review required by the State of New Jersey. A professional shall not review items which are subject to approval by any state governmental agency and not under Borough jurisdiction, except to the extent consultation with a state agency is necessary due to the effect of state approvals on the action undertaken.
Change of professionals. If the Borough retains a different professional or consultant in the place of the professional originally responsible for the review or inspection of the requested action, the person or entity who has deposited an escrow shall not be responsible for time and expense of the new professional to become familiar with the requested action and the Borough shall not bill the person or entity who has deposited an escrow or charge the escrow account for any such services.
Payment by voucher. All professional services shall be paid pursuant to the invoice procedure, as established by the Borough.
Any person or entity who has deposited an escrow disputing the charges for professional services shall provide written notification detailing the specific charges disputed and the reasons for the dispute to the governing body of the Borough and forward copies to the Chief Financial Officer and the professional whose charges are being disputed. A person or entity who has deposited an escrow shall dispute professional fees within 45 days from receipt of the informational copy of the professional's voucher. If an informational copy of the voucher is not supplied, the person or entity who has deposited an escrow shall dispute the fees within 60 days of receipt of the Borough's statement of activity against the escrow or deposit.
The governing body or its designee shall attempt to remediate any disputed charges within a reasonable time period.