South Whitehall Township is closing in on extra costs, as they may increase their application and initial escrow amounts for subdivision or land development applications.
The application fees are paid to the township that cover additional professional time. "The escrow is for out of pocket costs to the township other than staff time," explained township solicitor Joseph Zator.
Township Commissioners held a discussion about the topic during Wednesday's meeting, saying that they have met with staff to formulate new policy agreements for these type of development projects. "We've come up with a fee schedule that we thought was fair," stated Tony Ganguzza, the township Director of Administration.
Ganguzza informed the commissioners that he worked with other townships and municipalities to determine the are of fees. "It's an entire new policy and a brand new agreement."
Zator explained many elective activities corporate citizens ask township commissioners to take action on concerning the non-development policy and agreement arrangement can require significant expenses for the township. Township officials determined that "it makes sense" for the township to be reimbursed for these additional costs as their expense.
"If there is a dispute or lack of payment, then we have to pay the professional service and we're out the money," said commissioner David Bond, "It seems that this new measure would protect all three parties."
Previously, the escrow process was set up where the township pays the professional invoices from their general fund, then send the invoices out to those selected parties for reimbursement of the bills.
"These are real costs that the township has been absorbing over the course of time," said the solicitor. "The alternation would change the way the township completes the escrow process. "
"Our accounts should always be at a level that we should be able to pay our professionals, on time, with money that's paid by the applicant and/or developer," explained Ganguzza about the difference to the application process.
The policy includes applications for things such as road vacation, zoning ordinance or zoning map amendments, review, drafting or adoption of any other ordinance, and land development or subdivision waivers.
"Some of [the fees] went up significantly, for others it depends on the project," stated Ganguzza.
The board will officially vote on the official resolutions for the changes to the application fees at a future meeting.