Where indicated in the Fee Schedule, deposits toward the actual cost of processing proposals must be paid at the time an application is submitted. Applicants must sign an At-Cost Fee Agreement, consenting to reimburse LAFCO for all costs incurred in processing. Staff work time on applications, which includes overhead costs, is tracked on an hourly basis. Periodic invoicing of costs is provided.
If actual costs exceed the deposit amount, LAFCO will invoice the applicant for the additional costs. Processing of the application may be suspended until payment is received. Any portion of the deposit not used for processing is refunded.
Outside Agency Fees
If the Executive Officer determines that the processing of an application requires LAFCO to contract with another agency, private firm or individual for services that are beyond the normal scope of LAFCO staff work (e.g., drafting of an Environmental Impact Report or Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis), the applicant shall be responsible for all costs associated with that contract or service. The applicant shall provide LAFCO with a deposit sufficient to cover the cost of the contract or an amount determined by the Executive Officer to be a reasonable estimate of the costs.
Legal Counsel Fees
Applicants will be charged the actual costs of fees associated with legal consultation or review. While most applications do not require legal review, occasionally a proposal will develop significant legal issues that require considerable legal counsel involvement. In the event the Executive Officer identifies significant legal issues associated with the application, the applicant will be assessed, from that point forward, an additional minimum fee equivalent to two hours of legal counsel time at the current rate and any additional cost accrued above the minimum fee amount. Legal fees must be paid in full prior the final processing of an application.
Pre-Application Review Fee
Prior to the receipt of an application, LAFCO staff will allocate up to two (2) hours of time, at no additional cost, to discuss the application and/or work with an applicant, an applicant’s agent, and/or affected agencies via telephone, Fax, or email. Beyond that, or if the applicant requests a meeting with LAFCO staff, LAFCO staff time is assessed at actual cost, including overhead. For flat-fee applications, this fee is added to the standard cost, and payment is required at the time of application. Where a deposit toward the actual cost of an application is paid, pre-application review fees are added to the charges.
Refunds of Fees
Except for unused portions of deposits, all fees paid to Sonoma LAFCO are non-refundable. Payment of fees is not a guarantee of approval of the submitted proposal.
Waiver of Fees
The Commission may waive a fee in special circumstances or if it finds that payment would be detrimental to the public interest. Fees may be waived or reduced for applications filed in response to a condition imposed by or a recommendation made by the Commission. A request for waiver, including an explanation for the request, must be submitted in writing to the Commission. Staff will present the request to the Commission, along with analysis and recommendation, for its determination.