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Thursday, May 24, 2007

OMB: Government owns $17 billion in excess properties

Agencies have 21,000 excess buildings and land holdings worth a combined $17 billion, according to preliminary estimates by the Bush administration to be made final next month.

Agencies hold on to the unused properties rather than selling or destroying them largely because of legislative and budgetary disincentives that need to be removed, said Clay Johnson, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, at a May 24 hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management, government information and international security.

The large inventory of unneeded properties costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year in maintenance, security and utility expenses, said subcommittee chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., who plans to introduce legislation later this year to streamline the property disposal process and allow agencies to retain at least 20 percent of the profit from the sale of unused properties.

-Tim Kauffman, FederalTimes.com

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