U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, contacted the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) about how effectively the agency manages the federal government’s real property. The agency operates a vast portfolio of federal property including approximately 267,000 buildings, 496,000 structures and 42 million acres of land, at a cost of nearly $26 billion each year. Federal real property managed by GSA does not include public lands, which are overseen by the Department of the Interior. Enzi is pushing the GSA to be a more effective property manager in order to protect taxpayer dollars.
“Managing this property presents major challenges for the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget,” Enzi wrote. “Indeed, the Government Accountability Office has had real property management on its High Risk List since 2003. But information disclosed by GSA, along with omissions of required information, raises concerns about how effectively the agency manages the federal government’s real property.”
Enzi noted that the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act of 2016 (FASTA) requires GSA to publish a real property database that includes specific information about each property, such as its size, level of utilization, and annual operating costs. This database helps inform Congress about the use of real property, such as whether it can be transferred or sold. Although the database includes much of the information required by law, key information is missing. The database excludes required annual operating costs, replacement value, and actual and projected capital expenditures to operate and maintain a property. These data are important because they can help inform future funding needs for operating, repairing, and replacing real property.
The Chairman wrote seeking estimates for annual projected operating costs for managing real property government-wide, as well as maintenance costs, and capital expenditures for each year over the next decade. He wants to know why total capital expenditures, estimated capital expenditures, annual operating costs, and replacement value were omitted from the FASTA database, and what steps are being taken to encourage agencies to utilize real property more efficiently and dispose of surplus or excess property, among other information. Enzi is also asking GSA why more than 4,000 leased properties have occupancy rates that are less than 50 percent, and what the associated costs are for this underutilized space.
“Managing the federal government’s vast portfolio of real property presents challenges, but effective management is essential to protect taxpayer dollars,” Enzi wrote.
Read the full letter here.