North Coast should continue with its plans to collect from Caltrans the underpayment of application fees and to reimburse the overpayment of application fees that we identified. It should also consider reviewing a selection of past application fees it received from Caltrans to determine if other errors exist.
The North Coast Water Board completed an analysis of 75 Caltrans applications from the last three years and referred over and underpayments to State Board for Collection.
The net amount of underpayments that North Coast identified in addition to those we identified during the audit were almost $102,000.
The North Coast Water Board has completed a preliminary analysis of a random sample of Caltrans Permits and developed a methodology that can be consistently applied to the remaining Caltrans Permits. The preliminary analysis found results similar to the auditor.
The North Coast Water Board will use the developed methodology to review the remaining Caltrans permits within the North Coast Region. Staff is also reconciling fees against checks received from Caltrans. Once the analyis is complete State Board will work with Caltrans to collect underpaid or refund overpaid fees.
Direction was given to the Regional Boards at the Management Coordinating Committee that staff should check that fees paid match the project description. This will include all Caltrans projects in all the Regions for the last 3 years.
Regional Board staff is conducting a review of active projects and projects complete in last 3 years to determine if appropriate fees paid. This will include all Caltrans projects during that time period. Once the review is finished, the Water Board will reconcile the overpayments and seek to collect underpayments where found.
The state water board estimated that the regional water boards will complete their review by December 31, 2013, and it will provide documentation to the California State Auditor to identify errors in Caltrans' application fees by regional water board over the past three years and to demonstrate its follow-up with Caltrans to reimburse overpayments and collect underpayments as soon as it is available. It confirmed that the documentation it provides will also address Caltrans' underpayment of almost $18,000 on six projects and its overpayment of more than $900 on another project that the California State Auditor reviewed at the North Coast Regional Water Board during the audit.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.