Under § 56-575.4, agencies may charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs of processing, reviewing and evaluating proposals and charge for reasonable attorney's fees and fees for financial, technical, and other necessary advisors or consultants. The model PPEA guidelines prescribe that there should be no fee charged by agencies for review of solicited proposals. For unsolicited proposals and competing proposals, Agencies shall charge a fee of one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the estimated cost of implementing the proposal. The minimum fee shall be $5,000 and the maximum fee shall be $50,000. For purposes of initial processing of the proposal, the Agency may accept the $5,000 minimum fee with the balance to be due and payable prior to proceeding beyond the initial review stage. Such sums shall be paid with certified funds and shall be deposited in the State Treasury on the books of the Comptroller in a special statewide fund known as the PPEA Fund.
If the cost of reviewing the proposal is less than the established proposal fee, the Agency may refund the excess to the proposer. If during the initial review the Agency decides not to proceed to conceptual-stage review of an unsolicited proposal, the proposal fee, less any direct costs of the initial review, shall be refunded to the private entity.
If the Agency chooses to proceed with evaluation of proposal(s) under the PPEA, it shall not do so until the entire, non-refundable proposal fee has been paid to the Commonwealth in full.