[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Quarryville 12-1-2008 by Ord. No. 376. Amendments noted where applicable.]
By Act 1 of 1996, the General Assembly amended the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Act, Act of May 16, 1923, P.L. 207, No. 153, as amended, 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq., to specifically authorize inclusion of attorneys' fees incurred in the collection of delinquent accounts as part of a municipal lien. Act 1 requires that municipalities and municipal authorities adopt a schedule of attorneys' fees. Act 1 further requires that, prior to imposing attorneys' fees, the municipality or municipal authority notify the owner of the property with the delinquent account by certified mail of the municipality's or municipal authority's intent to recover these fees and the manner by which the assessment of the fees may be avoided by payment of the delinquent account. It is the intention of Council in enacting this chapter to comply with the requirements of Act 1 of 1996.
Unless otherwise stated, the following words shall, for the purposes of this chapter, have the meanings herein indicated:
- Quarryville Borough, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
- BOROUGH SOLICITOR
- The person or law firm appointed by Council to serve as legal counsel to the Borough.
- DELINQUENT ACCOUNT
- Any sums due and owing to the Borough which have not been paid within the time required by the Borough's ordinances, resolutions, rules, regulations or policies, including, but not limited to, sewer rates, or any other charge which may lawfully be imposed by the Borough and for which a municipal claim may be filed.
- HOURLY RATE
- The hourly fee charged by the Borough Solicitor to the Borough consistent with the ordinary and customary charges by the Borough Solicitor for similar services in the community, but in no event shall the hourly rate exceed the rate charged by the Borough Solicitor to the Borough when fees are not reimbursed by or otherwise imposed upon delinquent customers of the Borough.
Council specifically authorizes the recovery of attorneys' fees incurred by the Borough in the collection of delinquent accounts from the person or persons who are responsible for the payment of such delinquent accounts. Council authorizes the Borough Manager, Borough Secretary or the Assistant Secretary to take all actions required by applicable law to enable the Borough to recover attorneys' fees incurred from the persons responsible for this cost and to include such attorneys' fees in municipal claims. This authorization includes, but is not limited to, sending notification to such persons of the intention of the Borough to impose attorneys' fees incurred in collection efforts upon such persons.
The Borough shall impose attorneys' fees upon persons who have delinquent accounts in accordance with the following schedule of the minimum time required by the Borough Solicitor for the listed service times the hourly rate of the Borough Solicitor in effect at the time the Borough Solicitor performed the service on behalf of the Borough:
The services and minimum times expended by the Borough Solicitor for the services set forth in § 255-4 of this chapter are based upon the experience of the Borough Solicitor and upon standard collection practices. Should the person or persons responsible for payment of a delinquent account take action which will require the Borough Solicitor to perform additional or more time-consuming services than contemplated by § 255-4, it is the intention of the Borough to recover all of its attorneys' fees so incurred. Such actions include, but are not limited to, filing of counterclaims, challenging the legal power of the Borough to impose and collect the fee, rate, charge or other cost or similar actions.
All delinquent accounts and obligations which may be subject to lien pursuant to the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Act, Act of May 16, 1923, P.L. 207, No. 153, as amended, 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq., or any other statute, rule, regulations, or authority which shall permit the filing of liens or collection of municipal claims and obligations, shall be subject to interest at the rate of 10% per annum from the date of the filing of the municipal lien.
All court costs, filing fees, service fees, and similar costs, fees, and charges shall be the obligation of the property owner and shall, to be extent allowed by law, be included in any municipal lien.
The provisions of this chapter are severable, and if any section, sentence, clause, part or provision hereof shall be held to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision of the court shall not affect or impair the remaining sections, sentences, clauses, parts or provisions of this chapter. It is hereby declared to be the intent of Council that this chapter would have been enacted if such illegal, invalid or unconstitutional section, sentence, clause, part or provision had not been included herein.