The Atlanta Business Journal reported in August that five members of Georgia’s congressional delegation fired off a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers complaining about huge increases in dock permit fees the Corps is planning to impose on property owners along the state’s federally managed reservoirs.
U.S. Reps. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, Doug Collins, R-Gainesville; Jody Hice, R-Greensboro; Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville; and Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, pointed out the Army Corps has left the fees unchanged for more than a decade, then decided to increase the amounts “exponentially.”
The agency had announced it will raise the fee for new docks from $400 to $835 and the cost for a re-issued dock permit from $175 to $835. The new fees were to take effect Jan. 1.
The letter also asked the agency to submit a justification for the increased fees, including whether and to what extent administering the permits imposes a burden and why the burden for new permits, permit modifications or permit renewals is the same.
Well, apparently the Corps does open mail.
According to the AJC.com, Monday, dock owners on Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona and five other federally managed Georgia lakes got a pleasant surprise. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it would delay the increased fees. “It came out of the blue,” said John Barker, president of the Lake Lanier Association told the AJC.
A group of lawmakers, including lakeside Gainesville resident U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, had repeatedly pressed the Corps for more information behind the reasoning for the hikes, saying explanations had been insufficient.Now, two months before the increase was initially scheduled to kick in, it’s been put on hold.
The Army Corps’ national headquarters will conduct a review of its shoreline management fees, including the South Atlantic Division dock fees affecting Georgia, according to a statement from the agency.
One of the chief complaints about the increase was that residents were not consulted before the decision was announced.
Barker said he is remaining cautiously optimistic about what the delay could bring.“That they acquiesced to reconsider the plan is a win for the dock permit owners on Lake Lanier. But it might only be a reprieve, and we will see,” Barker told the AJC. “If they go in a dark closet and make up the rules and just pop out again, then I’m sure there will be some consternation, but if we work together on a solution then all parties can win.”
Update on the Lock and Dam HERE courtesy WJBF