[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Lehighton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Reimbursement of Emergency Service Costs
[Adopted 2-22-1999 by Ord. No. 486]
The terms used in this article which are defined in the Pennsylvania Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning and Response Act, 35 P.S. § 6022 et seq., or any amendments thereto, shall have the same meaning as in that Act unless defined differently herein.
As used in this article, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Borough of Lehighton.
- BOROUGH COUNCIL
- The Lehighton Borough Council.
- EMERGENCY INCIDENT
- An occurrence involving a risk of harm and/or imminent threat to private or public property, life or potential threat to the environment or public health or safety caused by, related to or arising from the release or threatened release of hazardous materials.
- EMERGENCY RESPONSE AGENCIES
- The Lehighton Fire Department, Lehighton Police Department and similar emergency response agencies from other municipalities responding to a request for assistance/aid under a mutual aid agreement and employees of the borough responding to an emergency incident at the request of an emergency response agency.
- EMERGENCY SERVICE COSTS
- All direct and indirect costs and expenses incurred/expended by the borough and/or any emergency response agency in connection with any emergency incident, including, but not limited to, the following:
- (1) The cost of labor calculated by determining the actual hourly wage rate plus the hourly cost of fringe benefits (and including overtime rates, if applicable) normally paid by the borough to borough personnel involved in responding to any emergency incident or, in the case of emergency response agency volunteer personnel, in accordance with a fee/rate schedule adopted by the Lehighton Fire Department, taking into account the funds expended to train and properly equip such volunteer, times the number of hours worked by each such volunteer, less one hour, in response to any emergency incident.
- (2) The cost of all nonreusable materials and all contaminated or consumed materials utilized in connection with any emergency incident.
- (3) Fifteen percent of the sum of Subsections A and B above to cover the administrative costs and expenses incurred in effectuating and administering the cost recovery.
- (4) Attorney's fees and costs associated with collecting any billing hereunder.
- FIRE CHIEF
- The Fire Chief of the Lehighton Fire Department or his/her appointed designee.
The Fire Chief shall assemble/compile a bill of costs for each emergency incident as follows:
Within 30 days after rendering services in connection with an emergency incident, or as soon thereafter as possible, the chief operating officer for each involved emergency response agency and the Borough Secretary shall submit to the Fire Chief an itemized bill of costs calculated in accordance with the provisions of this article.
The Fire Chief shall review all such bills of cost, correct any errors or duplications and compile a final documented total bill of cost.
Upon compilation of a complete bill of costs, the Fire Chief shall, within 45 days of the emergency incident, or as soon thereafter as possible, render an itemized billing statement to the responsible party/parties for the total amount of all submitted bills of cost plus 15% for administrative costs and expenses.
If the responsible party/parties have not paid the bill of costs within 45 days from the date the same was billed, the Fire Chief shall take appropriate enforcement/collection action against the responsible party/parties.
As an alternative to the foregoing procedure, the chief executive officer of any emergency response agency which responded to an emergency incident, or the Borough Secretary, may prepare, or cause to be prepared, an itemized bill of costs compiled in accordance with this article for his or her emergency response agency only, or the borough, whichever is applicable, and submit the same directly to any responsible party/parties for payment or submission for third party payment. However, any emergency response agency, or the borough, whichever is applicable, which elects this alternative procedure shall not, without the consent of the Fire Chief, thereafter be entitled to submit such cost billing to the Fire Chief for collection efforts in the event of nonpayment, partial payment or dispute concerning responsibility for payment or the amount of the cost billing.
Neither any emergency response agency nor the borough shall seek recovery for itself pursuant to this article for emergency service costs for which it is fully compensated by some person or entity other than the responsible party/parties. This provision is intended to prevent any emergency response agency or the borough from a "double" recovery of all or any part of its emergency service costs. Nothing in this article is intended, nor shall it be construed, to control or in any way interfere with or adversely affect such person or entity from recovering from the responsible party/parties any amount paid to an emergency response agency or the borough, either in said person or entity's own name or in the name of the appropriate emergency response agency or the borough.
All moneys received/recovered by the Fire Chief under the provisions of this article in connection with an emergency incident shall be deposited in the Fire Department's general fund and, upon completion of the cost recovery effort, the Fire Chief shall disburse the funds recovered as follows:
Fifteen percent of the total moneys actually received/recovered shall be retained by the Fire Company for the administrative costs incurred in effectuating and administering the cost recovery.
If the Fire Chief refers a bill of costs to a lawyer for collection, the Fire Department shall be reimbursed, in addition to the aforesaid 15% of the total moneys actually received/recovered, the full amount of all costs and fees incurred in connection with the legal services performed by its lawyer.
The Fire Chief shall distribute the balance between the emergency response agencies and the borough, in accordance with the amount claimed by each emergency response agency and the borough; and, in the event there are insufficient moneys received/recovered to pay all claims in full, the moneys received/recovered shall be paid in pari passu by and between the various claimants.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the foregoing, the Fire Chief may disregard all or any portion of a claim made by an emergency response agency or the borough for which moneys were not received/recovered or for which the Fire Chief reasonably believes moneys were not received/recovered.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to conflict with state or federal laws requiring persons causing or responsible for releases or threatened releases of hazardous materials from engaging in remediation activities or paying the costs and expenses thereof, or both.