Dock owners to see an administrative fee increase in 2020

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Dock owners at Lake Strom Thurmond will be paying triple the amount to keep their docks along the shoreline.

The U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers is increasing their administrative fees to catch up for the past 14 years.

Dock owner, Cliff Smithson says, “nobody gets away with a 300% increase. Nobody that’s fiscally responsible.”

Every five years dock owners on Lake Thurmond pay the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers an administrative fee to enjoy an exclusive private dock.

“Since 2006, myself and my neighbors have paid fees that range between $200 and $300,” says Smithson.

Effective January 1, 2020, it will be $35 for a dock permit and $800 for administrative processing.

Spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, Billy Birdwell, says, “we did a study to determine what it was costing the government to issue these permits was higher than what we were charging. We are charging an amount that would be equal to what the government is accruing to issue these permits.”

Come 2020 it will have been 14 years since the Army Corps. of Engineers issued their last fee increase and dock owners are wondering why it hasn’t been gradual.

“It is an oversight on our part. In fact, we have set up a program now, so we will be reviewing these fees every five years,” says Birdwell.

If your fee is up for renewal, it is encouraged to pay before December 31st to get the current charge. It is also encouraged to bundle all permit requests together.

“We urge them to make all those requests at once, that’s one fee. If they do them on one year one the next and one the year after that, that’s three fees,” says Birdwell.

As for Cliff Smithson, he is not happy.

“Any entity that tried to slam their customers with a 300% administrative fee. In the commercial world they would evaporate and cease to exist,” says Smithson.

The Army Corps of Engineers says that the administrative fee increase does not effect county owned parks. They say that they have a separate lease agreement.

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