U.S. Rep. Doug Collins has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explain why it plans to increase dock and facility permit fees next year.
Under the changes, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, new dock or facility permits in Corps’ South Atlantic Division, which includes Lake Lanier, will increase from $400 to $835. Re-issue permits will increase from $175 to $835.
The changes were announced on Thursday, June 6.
Collins, along with U.S. Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina), Jody Hice (R-Georgia), Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia), and Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) sent a letter to the Corps on Friday asking for more information about how and why the decision was made to increase the fees.
“The announced increase in fees for new, re-issue, and modified permits for docks and land-based facilities is unexpected and significant,” the letter states. “These increases could have a serious impact on individuals living on or near a number of reservoirs and waterways in the South Atlantic Division, but it does not appear that any public input was sought or considered.”
The representatives state in the letter that a gradual increase in fees would have been better.
“We understand that there may be a periodic need to update fees in order to meet the costs incurred by programs, however such increases must be paired with transparency and clear explanation as to why they are warranted,” the letter states. “… The sudden, steep increase in the cost of permits rather than a gradual phase-in suggests a lack of foresight on behalf of the South Atlantic Division.”
The letter requests that the Corps provide answers by June 28.
According to a press release from the Corps, the administrative fee will cover costs the Corps incurs for issuing or re-issuing licenses.
The Corps did not respond to requests for comment Friday.