Township of Muhlenberg, PA
Berks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 1-17-2005 by Ord. No. 405]
A "professional consultant" is any person(s) who provides expert or professional advice, including but not limited to architects, attorneys, certified public accountants, engineers, geologists, land surveyors, landscape architects or planners.
The Township hereby authorizes the Township to charge the property owner or applicant the actual costs for professional consultant services rendered in connection with land development and subdivisions within the corporate limits of the Township of Muhlenberg.
Review fees payable by the applicant may include reasonable and necessary charges by the Township's professional consultants for review and report thereon to the Township. Such review fees shall be based upon a schedule established by ordinance or resolution. Such review fees shall be reasonable and in accordance with the ordinary and customary charges for similar service in the community, but in no event shall the fees exceed the rate or cost charged by the professional consultant for comparable services to the Township for services which are not reimbursed or otherwise imposed on applicants. Fees charged to the Township relating to any appeal of a decision on an application shall not be considered review fees and may not be charged to an application.
A. 
The Township shall submit to the applicant an itemized bill showing work performed, identifying the person performing the services and the time and date spent for each task. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit interim itemized billing or Township escrow or other security requirements. In the event the applicant disputes the amount of any such review fees, the applicant shall no later than 45 days after the date of transmittal of the bill to the applicant, notify the Township and the professional consultant that such fees are disputed and shall explain the basis of his objections to the fees charged, in which case, the Township shall not delay or disapprove a subdivision or land development application due to the applicant's dispute over fees. Failure of the applicant to dispute a bill within 45 days shall be a waiver of the applicant's right to arbitration of that bill.
B. 
In the event that the Township's professional consultant and the applicant cannot agree on the amount of review fees which are reasonable and necessary, then the applicant and the Township shall submit the matter to arbitration, provided that the arbitrator resolving such dispute shall be of the same profession or discipline as the professional consultant whose fees are being disputed.
C. 
Subsequent to a decision on an application, the Township shall submit to the applicant an itemized bill for review fees, specifically designated as a final bill. The final bill shall include all review fees incurred at least through the date of the decision on the application. If for any reason additional review is required subsequent to the decision, including inspections and other work to satisfy the conditions of the approval, the review fees shall be charged to the applicant as a supplement to the final bill.
The applicant shall reimburse the Township for the reasonable and necessary expense incurred in connection with the inspection of improvements. The applicant shall not be required to reimburse the Township for any inspection which is duplicative of inspections conducted by other governmental agencies or public utilities; the burden of proving that any inspection is duplicative shall be upon the objecting applicant. Such reimbursement shall be based upon a schedule established by resolution. Such expense shall be reasonable and be in accordance with the ordinary and customary fees charged by the Township's professional consultant for work performed for similar services in the community, but in no event shall the fees exceed the rate or cost charged by the professional consultant to the Township for comparable services when fees are not reimbursed or otherwise imposed on applicants.
A. 
The Township shall submit to the applicant an itemized bill showing the work performed in connection with the inspection of improvements performed, identifying the person performing the services and the time and date spent for each task. In the event the applicant disputes the amount of any such expense in connection with the inspection of improvements, the applicant shall, no later than 30 days after the date of transmittal of a bill for inspection services, notify the Township and the professional consultant that such inspection expenses are disputed as unreasonable or unnecessary and shall explain the basis of his objections to the fees charged, in which case the Township shall not delay or disapprove a request for release of financial security, a subdivision or land development application or any approval or permit related to development due to the applicant's dispute of inspection expenses. Failure of the applicant to dispute a bill within 30 days shall be a waiver of the applicant's right to arbitration of that bill under this section.
(1) 
Subsequent to the final release of financial security for completion of improvements for a subdivision or land development, or any phase thereof, the professional consultant shall submit to the Township a bill for inspection services, specifically designated as a final bill. The final bill shall include inspection fees incurred through the release of financial security.
B. 
If the professional consultant and the applicant cannot agree on the amount of expenses which are reasonable and necessary, then the applicant shall have the right, within 45 days of the transmittal of the final bill or supplement to the final bill to the applicant, to request the appointment of another professional consultant to serve as an arbitrator. The applicant and professional consultant whose fees are being challenged shall, by mutual agreement, appoint another professional consultant as an arbitrator to review any bills the applicant has disputed and which remain unresolved and make a determination as to the amount thereof which is reasonable and necessary. The arbitrator shall be of the same profession as the professional consultant whose fees are being challenged.
C. 
The arbitrator so appointed shall hear such evidence and review such documentation as the arbitrator in his or her sole opinion deems necessary and shall render a decision no later than 50 days after the date of appointment. Based on the decision of the arbitrator, the applicant or the professional consultant whose fees were challenged shall be required to pay any amounts necessary to implement the decision within 60 days. In the event the Township has paid the professional consultant an amount in excess of the amount determined to be reasonable and necessary, the professional consultant shall within 60 days reimburse the excess payment.
D. 
In the event that the Township's professional consultant and applicant cannot agree upon the arbitrator to be appointed within 20 days of the request for appointment of an arbitrator, then, upon application of either party, the Presiding Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the Judicial District in which the municipality is located (or if at the time there be no presiding Judge, then the senior active Judge then sitting) shall appoint such arbitrator, who, in that case, shall be neither the professional consultant nor any professional consultant who has been retained by or performed services for the Township or the applicant within the preceding five years.
E. 
The fee of the arbitrator shall be paid by the applicant if the review fee charged is sustained by the arbitrator, otherwise it shall be divided equally between the parties if the disputed fees are found to be excessive by more than $5,000. The arbitrator shall have the discretion to assess the arbitration fee, in whole or in part, against either the applicant or the professional consultant. The governing body and the consultant whose fees are the subject of the dispute shall be parties to the proceeding.
Pursuant to the Muhlenberg Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance of 1980, as amended,[1] the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Muhlenberg shall not affix its original signature to any proposed final plan for recording with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds unless and until the Township Secretary, as defined by the First Class Township Code, attests that all actual costs for professional consultant services rendered as herein defined have been paid in full by the applicant.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 128, Subdivision and Land Development.