National Park Service:

Policies and Practices for Determining Concessioners' Building Use Fees

T-RCED-92-66: Published: May 21, 1992. Publicly Released: May 21, 1992.

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GAO discussed the fees that National Park Service (NPS) concessioners pay for using federally owned facilities. GAO noted that: (1) NPS does not maintain data on concession agreements that include the use of federally owned facilities; (2) in 1990, there were about 150 agreements involving concessioners' use of about 1,400 federally owned facilities; (3) those concessioners' gross revenues ranged from $6,300 to $83 million, and fees paid totalled about $1.2 million; (4) NPS receives some nonfee compensation from concessioners, but the value of that compensation is unknown; (5) NPS does not have specific building use fee policies, except for its requirement that fees be determined in accordance with acceptable industry practices; (6) NPS field officials generally did not obtain independent appraisals of the fair value return of concessions; (7) NPS does not have adequate guidance on the use of set-aside accounts, which represent funds that concessioners set aside to maintain the federally owned facilities they use; and (8) NPS could not determine whether it was receiving a fair return for concessioners' use of federally owned facilities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NPS has revised its database to include information on both government-owned and concessioner-owned buildings. The data include ownership, building function, insurance replacement value, and amount of building use fee.

    Recommendation: With regard to building use fees, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to develop complete and centralized data on: (1) the number of concession agreements that involve the use of federally owned facilities; (2) the number of facilities used by concessioners; (3) the building use fee paid by the concessioner; and (4) the value of nonfee compensation from either set-aside accounts or contractual agreements.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A new method for calculating building use fees has been developed and is being tested on some actual structures. The new methodology has been incorporated into a revised chapter of NPS-48 which is NPS' guidance on concessionaire operations.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to develop specific policies, methodologies, and guidelines on how to: (1) best determine building use fees; and (2) establish, administer, and track set-aside accounts, as well as other contractual agreements for repairs, maintenance, and improvements to federally owned facilities used by concessioners.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior


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