Georgia lawmakers: Lake dock fee increase not justified by Army Corps

Caption
The Army Corps of Engineers plans to increase dock fees by up to $660 at lakes it manages. The agency announced in its letter to dock owners that new and renewed permits would both go up to $835 as of Jan. 1, 2020. Commander for the corps’ South Atlantic Division said the increase is to cover administrative costs. A group of state lawmakers, one of whom is a lakefront resident, are not satisfied with that reason. The increase affects more than 10,000 dock owners on Lake Lanier and thousands more at the si

U.S. Reps. Doug Collins, Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk are not satisfied with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ explanation for plans to increase dock fees by up to $660 at bodies of water including Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona.

Lakefront residents, including Collins, first learned about the planned increase in letters sent by the Army Corps in June. Since 2006, new five-year permits have cost $400 and renewals have cost $175 on seven Corps-managed Georgia lakes. The agency announced in its letter to dock owners that new and renewed permits would both go up to $835 as of Jan. 1, 2020.


The price encompasses a $35 shoreline permit and an $800 administrative fee that covers the real estate license for each dock. The increase affects more than 10,000 dock owners on Lake Lanier alone and thousands more at the six other Corps-managed lakes across Georgia.

The Army Corps is a federal public works agency, the duties of which include managing dams, enforcing water safety and controlling flood risk.

Collins, Hice, Loudermilk and three fellow congressmembers sent the Army Corps a letter in June asking the agency to explain the increases. Brig. Gen. Diana Holland, commander for the corps’ South Atlantic Division, responded, saying the cost was determined by calculating administrative costs and passing those costs on to dockholders.

The group of congressmembers send Holland a follow-up letter Monday, saying their initial questions were “not sufficiently answered.” The letter also asks why residents were not asked or warned in advance of the rise in fees. The congressmembers charge that this could violate a federal statute that requires agencies to publish notice of plans to change a rule or make a new rule.

The letter gives Holland a deadline to Sept. 9 to respond.

June 14, 2019: Congressmen first write Army Corps

June 28, 2019: Army Corps responds

August 26, 2019: Congressmen respond

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