oversight

User Fees: Limited Survey of User Fees at the Departments of Commerce and the Interior

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-23.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United   States   General   Accounting   Office


GAO          Fact Sheet for the Chairman, Committee
             on the Budget, and the Chairman, Select
             Committee on’ Children, Youth, md
             Families, House of Representatives

March 1990
             USER FEES
             Limited Survey of
             User Fees at the
             Departments of
             Commerce and
             the Interior
      United States

GAO   General Accounting Offke
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Accounting and Financial
      Management Division



      B-238701

      March23,lm

      The Honorable  Leon Panetta
      Chairman,  Committee on the             Budget
      House of Representatives
      The Honorable    George Miller
      Chairman,   Select Committee on
        Children,   Youth, and Families
      House of Representatives

      This report        responds to your March 13, 1989, request                     in
      which you asked us to prepare a compendium of all fees the
      government        charges for its goods and services                 and to
      provide      information       on whether executive          branch departments
      periodically        modify fees to reflect             their  current      dollar
      value.       In subsequent       discussions,        it was agreed we would
      limit     our work to,selected           organizational       entities      within
      the Departments          of Commerce and the Interior.                 It was also
      agreed that we would include                in our report       a statement        on
      whether the Office           of Management and Budget (OMB) and six
      executive       branch departments          have implemented         the
      recommendations          contained     in the President's          Council      on
      Integrity       and Efficiency's         (PCIE) recent report            on user
      fees.l
      RESULTS IN BRIEF
      Officials    at the Departments       of Commerce and the Interior
      told us that detailed         user fee information        is usually     kept
      in the field      and that neither     department      has a central
      office    or official    who monitors     this   information.        Without
      this complete       and readily   accessible     information,      we were
      unable to prepare a comprehensive             compendium of user fees
      for these two departments.
      Because of the lack of detailed     user fee information,                       we
      were also unable to determine     whether the departments                       are
      periodically  adjusting their   fees to compensate for



      lAudit    of the Establishment      and Collection    of User Charges,
        President's    Council   on Integrity   and Efficiency,
        February    10, 1989.
B-238701


revising their  user fees to compensate for inflation,         and
(3) the six executive      branch departments who participated
in the PCIE audit of user fees are implementing        the PCIE
report's  recommendations.
At the Department            of Commerce, we contacted           officials      in
the National         Institute      of Standards       and Technology       and the
National    Oceanic and Atmospheric              Administration         because
these entities          accounted      for approximately        $29.3 million        of
Commerce's $32.6 million               in fiscal     year 1988 Treasury
receipts     (the most recent fiscal              year for which receipt
data was available).               At  the   Department    of the Interior,          we
contacted      officials         in the Minerals       Management Service,         the
Bureau of Reclamation,              and the Bureau of Land Management
because these entities              accounted     for approximately
$3.7 billion        of Interior's         $4.0 billion     in fiscal       year
1988 Treasury          receipts.
From each     of the entities    contacted,      we requested   a list of
all fees     charged the public.      Specifically,      we asked for
the name     of each fee, the identity       of the person or office
with the     authority   to review and revise       the fee, the
frequency     of review,    the date when the fee was last
reviewed,     the date when the fee was last revised,           the
amount of     the fee before the last review,          and the current
amount of     the fee.
We also contacted    officials    at OMB and six offices of
inspector   general  to determine    what actions have been taken
in response to the recommendations       in the PCIE's February
1989 report   on user fees.
We did not attempt        to verify       the information      we obtained,
and we did not obtain        official        agency comments on this
report.      However, the views          of cognizant     headquarters
officials     were sought during          the course of our work and are
incorporated      in this   report       where appropriate.        We
conducted     our work from June           1989 to January 1990.
DETAILED INFORMATION IS NOT AVAILABLE
TO PREPARE A USER FEE COMPENDIUM
In response to our request         for information,         headquarters
officials    in the organizational        entities       at Commerce and
the Interior      told us that detailed         information    on
individual     fees is usually     maintained        in the local
facilities     and field  offices     where fees are collected,
goods are sold, and contracts          are negotiated.         Information
3
    B-238701


    while the fee type required     to be reviewed every 3 years
    was last reviewed  in 1987.     The dates of last review for
    the other 4 were not available.
    Information       on when fees were actually         last reviewed was
    provided      for 47 of the 78 fee types.          Of these 47, 30 were
    reviewed within        the last 2 years,       12 within  the last 2 to
    5 years,      and 5 more than 5 years ago.           However, the
    officials       we contacted      could not always provide     dates for
    both review and revision.              Dates when fees were last
    revised      were provided      for 30 of the 78 types.       Of these
    30, 17 were revised          within    the last 2 years,    3 within   the
    last     2 to 5 years,     and 10 more than 5 years ago.
    SOME FEES CANNOT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY                  REVISED
    The fee information              provided     by some of the entities            also
    identifies        certain      factors     which legitimately         inhibit     fee
    revision       in some instances.             Fees usually        may not be
    administratively            revised     when they are established             by
    federal      statute       or through      contract      negotiations      and
    competitive        bids.       For example,       four of the Bureau of Land
    Management's         filing      fees for the purchase of mining patents
    were established            by statute      in the 1870s and cannot be
    administratively            revised     by the entity.          The Bureau of
    Reclamation        administers         over 3,000 water service           contracts,
    most of which were negotiated                  for terms of 40 to 50 years.
    Fees established            in a contract        usually    cannot be revised
    until     the contract         expires.
    We will      send copies of this    report   to the Director,       Office
    of Management and Budget; the Secretary,             Department     of
    Commerce;       the Secretary,   Department    of the Interior:      and
    other interested        parties.   Please contact     me at (202)
    275-9573 if you or your staff          have any questions       concerning
    this    report.     Other major contributors      to this    report    are
    listed     in appendix     III.




/   James L. Kirkman
    Director, Budget         Issues




    5
APPENDIX I                                                                                                                APPENDIX I


                                           INFORMATION PROVIDED ON FEES CHARGED
                                             FOR GOVERNMENTGOODS AND SERVICES
         Tables I.1 and 1.2 contain       fee information      provided      by
officials      in the entities    we contacted     at the Departments         of
Commerce and the Interior.          The lack of specific         information     On
when fees were last reviewed         and revised       does not necessarily       mean
the fees have not been recently           reviewed or revised:         it only means
that the information         was not readily     available   to headquarters
personnel.       We did not attempt     to verify      any of the information
provided.


Table       1.1:       Fee Infometian         Provldad         by !3lectad       rapaHmnt       of ace    Entitles

                               Required
Fee type                       frequency              Last              Last                Fee before     Current                GAO
6 number                       of   review         rev ieweda         rev I seda            last review       fee           observations
                                                                                                             -



b’tional           Institute        of Standards      ad      Technology



Standard                       Annually            With      each     Aug 09                Unknown        $190      to     Mugnetlc       tape d
 reference                                         database                                                58,200           d I skette     under
 database                                          upgrade                                                                  I lcense
  (38      fees)                                                                                                            agreement



Standard                       Annually            Apt- 89             1989                 115 to         $15 to
 reference                                                                                  $3,890         $3,772
 materials
  (1.200+
  fees)



NatIonal                       Annually            Aug 00              Unknown              $20 to         $20 to
 voluntary                                                                                  63,800         53.800
  laboratory
 accred I ta-
 *Ion        program
  (48      fees)




                                                                              7
APPENDIX I                                                                                                                                              APPENDIX I



                                Required
Fee type                        frequency                   Last               Last              Fee      before                 Current                          GAO
6 number                        of     review          rev ieweda             rev I sed a         I ast     rev lew                   -fee               observations



Mar i ne                        No                     Jan 74                 Jan     74          IO                             $25 to                  Application              fee
 Mamma I s                      pattern                                                                                          $200
 Protection
 Act       public
 permit
 (1    fee)



Mar i ne                        Annually               Estab       I i shed   N/A                 N/A                            $30                      Application             fee
 Mama I f                                              in     1989
 Protection
 Act
 exempt          ion
  (1   fee)



National                        Annual      Iy         1989                   1909                so to          5950            so. 1 o/pg               Selected         fees
 environ-                       by data                                                                                          to     5951              ral sed
 menta I                         center
  satellite,
  data,          and
  information
  serv Ice
  (115         fees)



Oceanic           8              Annually              Jul     88             Jul     88          $26                            s37                      Sells      one
  atmospheric                                                                                                                                             product
  research
  (1      fee)




aThe       terms       "I ast        reviewed"   and    "last         revised"      refer   to   the      last     time   fees        were   reviewed     or   changed
  either          by the        departments      or    by the         Congress.




                                                                                       9
APPENDIX I                                                                               APPENDIX I



                   Requ i red
Fee type           frequency       Last         Last      Fee before    Current                 GAO
d number           of   review   rev 1aweda   rev ised”   last revlaw      fee            observat  I on s
                                                                          -



PI pel 1 ne        Ih known      1988         1979        I& known      $15/ml      le
 rental
  (X U”k.1



Royalties-         Unknown       JUI    88    Unknown     Unknown       $68.50             Mmlnlstrative
  i n-kl     nd                                                         per lease          costs
 admlnis-                                                               (average)
 trat       Ion
  (# Unk.)



Pipe1       Ine    Unknown       Jul    88    1988        $100          $1,400             Filing     fee
  appl lcation
  (I     Unk.)



Pipeline           Unknown       Jul    a0    1988        525           550
  es5 ignment
  (d! Unk.)



PI atform          Vn known      Jul    88    Unknown     175           575                Fee since    at
 renta I                                                                                   least   1981
  (I       Unk.)



Lease               Unknown      Jul    88    Unknown     125            525                Fee since    at
 ownership                                                                                  least   1981
 transfer
   (if     hk.)



Printing            Unknown      Unknown       Unknown    Unknown        so. 13&g           PT I nt i ng costs
  costs                                                                  to $470            for staff     and
  (6 fees)                                                                                  cmwter          time




                                                     11
APPENDIX I                                                                                                           APPENDIX I



                      Required
Fee type              frequency             Last             Last         Fee      before       Current                     GAO
6 number              of   review        rev I eweda       rev isda       last      review         fee                observations
                                                                                                  -



Sale of               Varies        by   Varies       by   Unknown        50.50      to $7.89   $0.50      to
 electric             contract           contract                         mills      per        $9.92 mll Is
 energy                                                                   ki lowatt-            per ki lowatt-
 (I      Unk.)                                                            hour                  hour



Technical             Case-by-           UI known          UI known       Actual       cost     Actual      cost
 assistance           case
 to foreign
 countr i es
  (# Ulk.)



Outgrants             Varies        by   Varies       by   Unknown        Fa I r market         Fa I r market
  (I     (krk.)       outgrant           outgrant                         value                 value



Retreat       ion     No                 Varies       by   Unknown        $0.50 to        55    $1 to $7
 fees                 pattern            regional                         Per visit             per  visit
 (1 Unk.)                                d i rector



Exaninlng             No                 1986              lhk”OW”        51,000   per          15,000
 smal I               pattern                                             appl icat Ion         per appl        I-
 project                                                                                        cat I on
 submlssions
 (X Unk.)



Providing             Case-by-           Unknown           Unknown        Actual       cost     Actual      cost
 plans.               case
 speciflca-
 tions,           L
 other
 materials
 (I     Unk.)




                                                                     13
APPENDIX I                                                                                                      APPENDIX I



                        Requ I red
Fee type                frequency               Last             Last       Fee before        Current                   GAO
& number                of rsvlew         rev i eweda          revIseda     I ast rev i ew       fee             observations
                                                                                                -



Right-of-               tb                Jul      87          Unknown      Fair market       Fair                Rental    rate        per
 way rental             pattern                                             value             market              acre adjusted              by
 (16oC          fees)                                                                         value               state/district



Timber                  Varies       by   Varies          by   Unknown      Unknown           $5 to $500          Fee set by
 sales                  contract          state                                               per thou.           negotiation           or
 (X Unk.)                                                                                     board      ft.      competitive           bid



site                    Varies       by   Varies          by   l&known                        Varies       by     May work         In   lieu
  prepar-               district          dlstrlct                                            contract            of   paying       fees
 atlon
  (I     Unk.)



Vegetative              Varies       by   Varies          by   Unknown      Unknown           Varies       by     Fee set by
 materials              state             contract                                            contract            negotlatlon           or
 receipts                                                                                                         ccmpetltive           bld
  (8 lhk.)



WI Id                   No                 1983                 1903        S200/brse         $125/horse          Appl icatlon          fee
  horses          a     pattern                                             b $75/burro       $75/burro
  burros
  (2     fees)



Grazing                 Annual      ly    Mar        09        Mar     09   51.54 per         s 1.86/ALM
 fees                                                                       anlmal-unlt-
       -CONUS                                                               month     (AIM)
  (1     fee)



Grazing                  Every     3       1967                Unknown      $1.10     AU4     $1.10       AIM
  fees                   years
    -Al aska
  (1     fee)




                                                                       15
APPENDIX I                                                                                                         APPENDIX I



                      Requl red
Fee type              frequency        Last              Last        Fee before            Current                        GAO
h number              of   review   revIeweda          rev I seda    last review              fee                   observat  I ens
                                                                                             -



Other    sol Id       No            Varies      by     Unknown       Unknown               Varies       by
 minerals             wttern        contract                                               contract
 royaltles
 (# Unk.)



Other        sol id   ND            Varies      by     Unknown       Unknown               20% of       bid
 minerals             Dattern       contract




Mining        law     No            12 In       1988   i 988         $0 to     $25         $5 to       $250          FI I ing   fee
 admlnls-             pattern        1 In       1962   lk!known      $10                   $10
 tratlon                              1 in      1949   Unknown       $10                   $10
  (14     fees)



Mining        law     No            1908               2 in   la72   $2.50     to    55/   52.50       to     $5     Filing     fee’s&
 patent               pattern                          2 In   1876   acre,     SS/acre     Wacre                     by Congress
 purchases                                             1 in   1960   $2. M/acre            52.50/acre
  (5 fees)



Survey        of      MO            1985               Unknown       Unknown               5500 for                  FIIIng     fee
 mlnlng               pattern                                                              1st claim;                hav     be
 claims                                                                                    $200       each           I “creased  by
   -CONUS                                                                                  add.       claim          each state)
  (2 fees1



survey        of      N>             1985              Unknown       Unknown               5625 for                  FI I ing fee
 mlnlng               pattern                                                              1st claim;                (may be
 claims                                                                                    5250       each            I “creased      by
   -Al aska                                                                                add.       claim          the state)
  (2 fees)



Mineral               tb             1983              Ih known      High    bid     or    High       bid            Fa I r market
 materials            pattern                                        falr  market          or fair                   value   Is based
 (2 fees)                                                            value                 market                    on appraisal
                                                                                           value


                                                              17
APPENDIX I                                                                                                                                             APPENDIX I




                             Requ i red
Fee     type                  frequency               Last               Last                  Fee before                       Current                        GAO
8 number                     of     review          rev ieweda          rev i seda             last      review                   -fee                   observat    Ions



Geothermal                    No                    1989                Unknown                20% of         bid               20% of      bid
 bonuses                      pattern
 (1     feel



Geothermal                    No                    1989                1989                   Unknown                          $3 to     Sd/acre
 in-lieu-of                   oattern
 production
 (2     fees)



Geophysical                   No                    1988                Unknown                525                              $25                      Fi I ing   fee
 operations                   pattern
   -Alaska
 (2 fees)



                                                                                Publication           Costs



Freedom         of            No                    Nov 87              Unknown                SO.l3/pg             to          so. 13/pg         to
  I n forma-                  pattern                                                          researcher’s                     researcher’s
 tion      Act                                                                                 hour I y rate                    hour I V rate
 requests
 (I     Unk.)



COPY 1 ng                     No                    Varies   by         Unknown                Varies         by                Varies      by
 fees    for                  oattern               state                                      state                            state
 documents
  (I    Unk.)



COPY 1 ng                     vo                    Varies   by         Unknown                Varies         by                Varies      by
 fees for                     pattern               state                                      state                            state
 maps
  (# Unk.)



aThe      terms      “last        reviewed”   and    “last   revised”       refer      to     the      last    time      fees     were    reviewed       or   changed
 either         by the       departments      or    by the   Congress.



                                                                                 19
APPENDIX II                                                      APPENDIX II


strengthen   management   control   and oversight   and to increase   user
fee revenues.




                                     21
APPENDIX III                                                       APPENDIX III
                    MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT

ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL     MANAGEMENTDIVISION,         WASHINGTON, D.C.
c. L. [Roy) Jenney, Assistant    Director,      Budget    Issues
Charles W. Woodward, III,   Evaluator-in-Charge
Deena G. Roth, Evaluator




 (935062)

                                      22
APPENDIX II                                                                          APPENDIX II


                         PCIE's AUDIT OF THE ESTABLISHMENT
                          AND COLLECTION OF USER CHARGES
       The President's          Council       on Integrity       and Efficiency           (PCIE)
recently     took a selective           look at the effectiveness                of policies       and
procedures      relating      to the establishment              and collection          of user
charges at the Departments                of Agriculture,          Defense,      the Interior,
Transportation,         Housing and Urban Development,                   and Health and Human
Services.       The PCIE report,            issued February          10,   1989,     found that
the six departments           lacked an effective             system     for monitoring          and
promoting      user charges and that they failed                    to collect         user   charges
in all applicable           cases.      The report       concluded       that effective          user
charge programs in the departmental                    entities       reviewed       could have
resulted     in collection         of an additional           $476 million         from existing
programs and that another $770 million                      could be realized             annually
if certain      legislative        restrictions        were removed.
         The PCIE recommended that OMB and the executive                  branch
departments      become more actively         involved       in the user fee area.
Specifically,        the departments      should (1) work with OMB in obtaining
legislative      relief    to remove impediments          which prevent       the charging
or changing of user fees and (2) appoint                   a department-level
official      to monitor     the establishment       and collection       of user fees
and to approve all exemptions             to established         user fee policy.       The
PCIE also recommended that OMB (1) revise                    its Circular     No. A-25,
"User Fees," to include            more precise     definitions       and to reestablish
the annual requirement           for departments       to report     the status    of
their     user fees and (2) follow          up on annual user fee reports            where
the data supplied        is incomplete       or inaccurate.
       We contacted         officials         at OMB and the six offices         of inspector
general     (OIG) that took part in this PCIE audit to determine                         what
had been accomplished               in connection         with the PCIE's
recommendations.            An OMB official            stated   that his agency is
currently      reviewing        all of its financial            management circulars       in
order to consolidate              federal      financial      management policy     and
procedures.         As a result,          some circulars        will   be combined with
others    and some will           be eliminated.            OMB Circular   No. A-25 (which
establishes       federal       policy     and provides        agency guidance     for the
establishment,         collection,         and disposition          of fees assessed for
government       services,        property,       and resources)       has been identified
as one to be modified,                but   it has not yet been finalized.
       The OIG officials     we contacted     stated     their  departments        are
awaiting    direction    from OMB regarding      the annual reporting          of user
fee data and the appointment        of a department-level          official      to
monitor   the establishment     and collection        of user fees.         In the
interim,    the departments    are reviewing       their    user fee programs to
                                                20
APPENDIX I                                                                                              APPENDIX I



                      Requ 1 red
Fee type              frequency        Last         Last       Fee     before          Current                 GAO
L number              of   review   rev I eweda   rev I seda   last     review            fee            observations
                                                                                         -



011 6 gas             tb            1980          1988         sp to        575        $25 to             Appl icatlon      fee
  leaslng             pattern                                                          575
 admlnls-
 tration
 (# Wk.1



01 I 6 gas            No            1908          1908         $1 to        $3         51.50     to      Rates set for
 leaslng              pattern                                  per     acre            b2/acre           1 to 5 years  and
 renta I                                                                                                 6 to    10 years
 (C Wk.)



01I 6 gas             No            198%          Unknown      12.5s                   12.5%
 royalties            pattern
  (X Unk.)



Oil     6 gas         No            1908          1908         Appra I sed             S2/acre
 bonuses              pattern                                  value                   (minimum)
  (f    Unk.)



Geothermal            No            1909          lhknown      $50 to                  $50 to             Appl lcation      fee
 leaslng              pattern                                  sharl ng                sharl ng
 adminls-                                                      costs                   costs
 trat     ion
  (4 fees1



Geothenna         I   No             1989         lh known     $1 /acre                $1 /acre
  renta       I       pattern                                  (minimum)               (minimum)
  (1 fee1



Gaothennal            No             1989         Unknown       log    to        15%    10 to     15%
  royalties           pattern
  (1 fee)




                                                         18
APPENDIX I                                                                                                      APPENDIX I



                     Required
Fee type             frequency        Last         Last              Fee     before     Current                         GAO
d number             of    review   rev lewda    reviseda            last     review       fee                   observat   I ons
                                                                                          -



Grazl ng             N3             1902         u1 known            610                $10                       Appl lcatlon        fee
 appl ica-           pattern
 tion
 (I     Unk.)



                                                Energy      and Hi neral     Meources



Coal                 N3             1982          1979               $0 to      $10     $10 to           $250     Appl icatlon        fee
 I icenses           pattern
 (1 lhk.)



Coal                 No             Lln known     1979               SO.25 to $1        $)/acre
 rental              pattern                                         per     acre
 (I     Unk.)



Coal                 No             Unknown       1977               bO.O5/ton          12.5%
 royaltles           pattern                                         (minimum)          (surface);
 (I     Unk.)                                                                           6% (under-
                                                                                        ground       1



Coal                 No             Unknown       1962               Higher    of       Higher   of
 bon uses            pattern                                         appraised          appra I sed
 (I     Unk.)                                                        value      or      value        or
                                                                     S25/acre           SlOO/acre



Other        solid    No            1966          1984                110               $25                       Appl icatlon
 minerals             pattern                     d 1986
 use a lease
 perml ts
  Cd Unk.)



Other        solid    tb             1986         I964                SO.25 to $1       SO.25 to $1               Negotiated
 minerals             pattern                                         par    acre        per      acre            annual     rental
 renta I
  (A Unk.)


                                                         16
APPENDIX I                                                                                                  APPENDIX I



                    Required
Fee type            frequency        Last              Last            Fee before       Current                    GAO
d number            of   review   rev iewada         rev i seda        I ast rev i ew      fee               observat  I on s
                                                                                          -



Freedan     of      Fb            i 987              1987              I lO/ hour       S9.20/hr
  In forma-         pattern                                                             to     $19.40/hr
 tion       Act
 requests
 (il    Lhk.)



Wv 1ng              No            1987               IM known          so. 13/pg        so. 13/pg
 documents          pattern
 (I     Unk.)




                                                            lands   end Realtv



Exchange            Cssa-by-      Varies        by   ti known          so to     $100   515 to       $100     Appl ication      fee
 or sale            case          contract
 of     federal
  lands
  (a+     fees.7



Lease       or      Case-by-      Varies        by   Unknown           so to     $100   0 to      $100        Application       fee
 use of             case          contract
 federal
 lands
 (25+       fees)



Management          Case-by-      Varies        by   Unknown           $100 or          $100 or               Application       fee
 of federal         case          contract                             appraised        appral sed
 lands                                                                 value            value
  (2t     fees.7



Right-of-           b             Jul      87        Jui    07         SZO/mi I e to    $25 to                Prior     fees   ware
 way costs          pattern                                            $100 per         actual                successfully
 c12+ fees7                                                            40 acres         cost                  chal lenged      in
                                                                                                              court



                                                            14
APPENDIX                 I                                                                                           APPENDIX        I



                             Raqu I red
Fee type                     frequency             Last            Last      Fee before       Current                        GAO
L number                     of      review     rev leweda        reviseda   I ast rev iew
                                                                                                -
                                                                                                 fee                   obsarvat  I ons



Freedan     of               Lb known           Unknown           Unknown    *known            so. 13/ pg
  in forma-                                                                                   to hourly
 tlon       Act                                                                               rata of
 requests                                                                                     researcher
  (I     Unk.)



Cenozoic                     Unknown            Unknown           Unknown    Unknown          $150      and
 VOI ume                                                                                      $300
  (2 fees7



eveall          of   @claatloe



Rapayrnent                       NC             Varies     by     Unknown    Actual    cost   Actua I
 contracts                       pattern        contract                                      cost
  (1,700t
  fees)



Repayment                    Annual        IV   Varies     by     Unknown    Actual    cost   Actua I
 of over-                                       contract                                      cost
 head d
 maintenance
  charges
  (1.700+
  fees)



Sale       of                    Annual    IV   Varies       by   Unknown    SO.04 to $25     10.04 to $25
  agricul-                                      contract                     per acre-foot    per acre-foot
  tural    water
  (1,750-t
  fees)



Sale       of                    Annual    Iv   Varies       by              $0.17 to $85     so.17  to       585
  munlci pal                                    contract                     ixar acre-foot   per acre-       foot
  d indus-
  tr I al water
  t1.75ot
   fees1
                                                                       12
APPENDIX I                                                                                                                        APPENDIX I



Table        1.2:       Fes lnfaratlon        Provided      by Selected        Department   of the   Intwlw       Entlties

                             Required
Fee type                     frequency             Last              Last              Fee before             Current                    GAO
d number                    of     review       revieweda          reviseda            last review               fee               observations
                                                                                                                 -



wlna7lls            ml Lsasmeat servlca



Outer                        Annual      IV     Unknown            Unknown             Unknown                $)/acre              Fee since    at
 continen-                                                                                                                         least   1961
 tal    shelf
 annual          rent
 (I     Unk.)



Outer                        Per                Unknown            1967                Unknown                S25/acre             Fa I r market
 continen-                   contract                                                                         (minimum)            value
 tal       shelf
 lease   sale
 bonuses
  (I    Ulk.1



Outer                        Per                Unknown            Unknown             Unknown                12.5% to             Negotiated        fees
 continen-                   contract                                                                         65% profit
 tal   shelf                                                                                                  shar I ng , or
 royalties                                                                                                    33.5%       flat
 (I Unk,)                                                                                                     rate



Outer                        Per                01 known           Lh known            VI known               Varies        by     Mgot    iated     fees
 continen-                   contract                                                                         contract
 tal       shelf
 royalties-
  I n-ki    nd
  (R Unk.)



=-oduct                      At the             ‘:nknown           Yar    08           llnknown               rCommodi?y           Negotiated        fees
 value                       Secretary’s                                                                      value  less
 guide1       ines           discretion                                                                       negot      i ated
  (# Unk.)                                                                                                    cos+s




                                                                          10
APPENDIX I                                                                                                      APPENDIX I



                        Required
Fee type                frequency           Last      Last          Fee before            Current                       GAO
L number                of   review      reviewed’   rev I sed .a   I ast    rev lew           -fee              observations



Freedom of              No               1986        Unknown        $O.O7/pg         to   $O.O7/pg
  I nforma-             pattern                                     II O/hour             to staff
 tion       Act                                                                           salary
 requests                                                                                 rate
 (4 fees)



Calibration             Seml-            Mar 89      1989           Unknown               $12 to                 Rev i sed      as
 services               annual      Iy                                                    J50,000+               required
  (490+         fees)




Maps      A             Annual      Iy   Mar    89   act     88     $1.25     to          $1.25                  Selected           fees
 charts                                                             $600                  to     $600            raised
  (106        fees)



National                Annually         Jul    89   Jul     89     $2,500      to        $2,500         to      Fee      = cost
 Weather                                                            $24,500               $21,000                divided        by
  Serv 1ce                                                                                                       number        of
  (7     fees)                                                                                                   subscribers



Foreign                 Annually         Feb 89      Unknown        $61.76      to        $61.76          to
  fishing                                                           $2.450.59             $2,450.59
 operations                                                         per     metr I c      per         metr ic
  (35      fees)                                                    ton                   ton



Vessel          d       Unknown          Unknown     Unknown        575                   975                    Application               fee
  gear        denage                                                                                              set     by Congress
  (I     fee)



Foreign                 Annually         Aug 88      Aug 88         $7,219                57,222                 Fee = salary               of
  fishing                                                                                                        observer           while
  observer                                                                                                       on fishing            vessel
  (1 fee)



                                                              8
                                 Contents

                                                                                Page
LETTER                                                                            1

APPENDIXES
        I    INFORMATION PROVIDED ON FEES CHARGED FOR
             GOVERNMENTGOODS AND SERVICES                                         7
   II        PCIE's AUDIT OF THE ESTABLISHMENT
             AND COLLECTION OF USER CHARGES                                      20
 III         MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT                                   22
TABLES
   I.1       FEE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY SELECTED
             DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCEENTITIES                                       7

   I.2       FEE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY SELECTED
             DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ENTITIES                                 10



                                  ABBREVIATIONS

AUM          animal-unit-month
CONUS        Continental     United         States
OIG          Office   of   Inspector            General
OMB          Office    of Management             and Budget
PCIE         President's     Council            on Integrity   and Efficiency




                                            6
B-238701



available    at the headquarters       level pertains     primarily   to
the administration       of fee policy     and the aggregation      of fee
revenues.     Neither    Commerce  nor the Interior       has a central
office    or official    who has detailed     information     on that
department's       fees.
We were also told that detailed                        information       on fees
contained        in government          contracts          is available      only by
contacting         each contracting           official.          Bureau of
Reclamation         officials       stated       that they have over 1,750
contracts        with various         companies,          counties,      towns,
districts,         and state and local               agencies      to provide
agricultural,           municipal,        and industrial           water service.
Bureau     officials         also estimate           that there are a similar
number of contracts               in effect        to recover        the capital      costs
associated         with building          the dams, irrigation              ditches,    and
pumping stations              to provide       the water service.               Since each
contract       was negotiated           individually          and its documentation
is kept in the field,               bureau officials              are unsure as to how
many contracts            actually      exist      and have only recently             begun
t0 compile a contract                inventory.            Therefore,      because of the
large number of contacts                  that would have been necessary,                   we
agreed not to conduct a field-location-by-field-location
search to identify              and verify         individual        user fees for
 inclusion        in a comprehensive             compendium.
INFORMATION IS NOT READILY AVAILABLE TO DETERMINE
WHETHER USER FEES ARE BEING PERIODICALLY MODIFIED
To determine        whether the entities           we contacted      were
periodically         adjusting     their    user   fees to compensate for
inflation,        we requested       information      on when fees are
required       to be reviewed        and when they were actually
reviewed       and last revised.           Fee information      in such detail
is not readily          available      at the headquarters        level   in the
Departments        of Commerce and the Interior.              However,
officials        at the entities        we contacted     were able to provide
limited      information       regarding      fee reviews on 78 types of
user fees.         These types vary from charges for maps and
charts     to royalties        from mineral      leases to fees for grazing
rights.        The number of individual            fees in each type, where
known, ranges from 1 to over 1,750.
The officials     we contacted   could provide   specific
information     on when fees were supposed to be reviewed       for
17 of the 78 fee types:        15 types are to be reviewed
annually,     1 semi-annually,   and 1 every   3 years.   Of the
17 types,     12 had been reviewed    within  a year of our request
B-238701


inflation.        However, from the limited           information       we were
provided,      we   found  indications     that    while     some   types  of
fees have been reviewed            and revised     recently,      others have
not.       (See appendix     I.)    We also found that there are
legitimate      reasons for not revising           some fees.         For
example, fees established            by federal      statute,     through
competitive       bidding,     or in contract      negotiations        are
usually      not permitted       to be administratively         or
unilaterally       changed by the departments.
Regarding      implementation         of the recommendations          contained
in the PCIE's report            on user fees, OMB is currently
reviewing      its financial        management circulars          to consolidate
federal     policy     on financial         management,   including       user
fees.      The offices       of inspector       general   which took part in
the PCIE audit         indicate     that the six departments            involved
are reviewing        their     user fee policies        and procedures         for
the purpose of improving              management's      control     and
oversight.         (See appendix        II.)
BACKGROUND
From 1959 to 1974, executive              branch departments      were
required     to file     an annual report        with the Bureau of the
Budget (now called         OMB), detailing        the costs incurred      and
fees charged by each of their               bureaus and organizational
units.     In April      1974, OMB discontinued          this requirement
because most of the fee information                 it was receiving    was
incomplete     and inaccurate.          Given the seriousness        of the
current    federal     budget deficit,         some Members of Congress
have expressed concern that the government may be
experiencing       substantial      financial     shortfalls    because it
fails    to periodically       review and revise the fees charged
for the le;se,       purchase,      or use of its goods, services,          and
resources.
OBJECTIVES,      SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY
Our objectives    were to determine    whether (1) detailed      fee
information    is readily available    at the Departments     of
Commerce and the Interior      to prepare a comprehensive
compendium of user fees for those departments,        (2) the
Departments    of Commerce and the Interior    are periodically

2For purposes of this          report,     the term "fee"       encompasses
 receipts  to the U.S.         Treasury      such as rents,      royalties,
 bonuses, etc.
2