Borough of Ephrata, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Ephrata 11-14-2011 by Ord. No. 1477; amended in its entirety 8-14-2017 by Ord. No. 1532. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Unless otherwise stated, the following words shall, for the purposes of this chapter, have the meanings herein indicated:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
BOROUGH COUNCIL
The governing body of the Borough.
BOROUGH SOLICITOR
The person or law firm appointed by the Borough Council to serve as legal counsel to the Borough in accordance with Act 37 of 2014, 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 1116 and the Borough Code.
DELINQUENT ACCOUNT
Any sums due and owing to the Borough which have not been paid within the time required by the Borough's ordinances, rules, regulations or policies, including, but not limited to, charges for electric service, municipal trash collection, removal of nuisances, the repair, replacement of curb and sidewalk 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.
A. 
Unless specifically indicated otherwise, shall mean and include:
(1) 
The claim arising out of, or resulting from, a tax assessed, service supplied, work done, or improvement authorized and undertaken by a municipality, although the amount thereof be not at the time definitely ascertained by the authority authorized to determine the same, and a lien therefor be not filed, but becomes filable within the period and in the manner provided by 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. (the "Act");
(2) 
The claim filed to recover for the grading, guttering, macadamizing, or otherwise improving, the cartways of any public highway; for grading, curbing, recurbing, paving, repaving, constructing, or repairing the footways thereof; for laying water pipes, gas pipes, culverts, sewers, branch sewers, or sewer connections therein; for assessments for benefits in the opening, widening or vacation thereof; or in the changing of water courses or the construction of sewers through private lands; or in the acquisition of sewers and drains constructed and owned by individuals or corporations, and of rights in and to use the same; for the removal of nuisances; or for water rates, lighting rates, or sewer rates; and
(3) 
The claim filed to recover for work, material, and services rendered or furnished in the construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of a project or projects by the Borough.
B. 
A municipal claim shall be together with and shall include all administrative fees, penalties, interest, costs, fines, charges, expenses and fees, including reasonable attorneys' fees, as allowed by the Act and all other applicable laws.
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. The Borough Council authorizes the 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:
Service
Minimum Time
(tenths of hours)
Prepare collection warning letter, including review of Borough information
0.4
Obtain and review deed of property
0.2
Prepare certification of amount owing to Borough and transmit certification to Borough
0.4
Prepare municipal lien
0.6 per account
File municipal lien
0.2
Forward copy of municipal lien to Borough
0.2
Prepare civil action complaint before Magisterial District Judge for collection of account
0.8
Prepare for and attend hearing before Magisterial District Judge concerning civil action to collect delinquent account
1.6
Prepare and file satisfaction of municipal lien
0.2
The services and minimum times expended by the Borough Solicitor for the services set forth in § 211-3 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 § 211-3, 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.
The following collection procedures are hereby established in accordance with Act No. 1 of 1996:[1]
A. 
At least 30 days prior to assessing or imposing attorneys' fees in connection with the collection of an account, the Borough shall mail or cause to be mailed, by certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice of such intention to the taxpayer or other entity liable for the account (the "account debtor").
B. 
If, within 30 days after mailing the notice in accordance with Subsection A, the certified mail to any debtor is refused or unclaimed or the return receipt is not received, then at least 10 days prior to the assessing or imposing such attorneys' fees, the Borough shall mail or cause to be mailed, by first-class mail, a second notice to such debtor.
C. 
All notices required by this chapter shall be mailed to the debtor's last known post office address, as recorded in the records or other information of the Borough, or such other address as it may be able to obtain from the County Office of Assessment and Revision of Taxes.
D. 
Each notice, as described above, shall include the following:
(1) 
The type of tax or other charge, the date it became due and the amount owed, including penalty and interest;
(2) 
A statement of the Borough's intent to impose or assess attorneys' fees within 30 days after the mailing of the first notice, or within 10 days after the mailing of the second notice;
(3) 
The manner in which the assessment or imposition of attorneys' fees may be avoided by payment of the account; and
(4) 
The place of payment for accounts and the name and telephone number of the Borough official designated as responsible for collection matters.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq.
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, regulation, 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.