Collins seeks more answers from Army Corps of Engineers on fee increases

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) this week led a bipartisan contingent in again pressing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explain fee increases for dock and facility permits.

The Corps on June 6 announced the implementation of a revised real estate administrative fee schedule for dock and land-based facility permits along the shorelines of federal reservoirs and waterways in the South Atlantic Division, according to an Aug. 26 letter that Rep. Collins and his colleagues sent to U.S. Brig. Gen. Diana Holland, commander of the Corps’ South Atlantic Division.

The revised administrative fee schedule, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, includes a fee increase for new and re-issued dock and land-based facility permits. The cost for a new dock or facility permit will increase from $400 to $835 and the cost for a re-issued permit will increase from $175 to $835, according to the letter, which included signatures from six other congressmen from both sides of the aisle.

“The Corps left the fee schedule unchanged for more than a decade and then decided to increase the amount exponentially,” wrote Rep. Collins and the other members. The letter also asked the Corps to “explain why a more gradual phase-in to increase fees was not implemented.”

While the Corps on June 28 did respond to the original June 14 letter sent by Rep. Collins and several other lawmakers regarding the same matter, the Corps failed to provide adequate justification for the fee increases, the members wrote this week.

“We believe that a number of our questions were not sufficiently answered,” they wrote Commander Holland. “Furthermore, we have additional questions regarding the information your office provided.”

Among several questions, Rep. Collins and his colleagues asked Holland to provide evidence to justify the fee amount of $835.

“Please be specific showing the study that the USACE did to arrive at this number, including evidence that the administrative burden for new permits, modifying permits, and renewing permits is the exact same,” the members wrote.