BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair SB 122 (Lieu) - Vessels: abandonment: abatement. Amended: As introduced Policy Vote: NR&W 9-0 Urgency: No Mandate: No Hearing Date: May 23, 2013 Consultant: Marie Liu SUSPENSE FILE. Bill Summary: SB 122 removes the sunset date on a pilot program that allows boat owners to voluntarily surrender a vessel to a public agency at no cost, if that vessel is in danger of being abandoned. Fiscal Impact: At least $250,000 annually in costs and cost pressures to the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund (Special Fund) for grants. Background: The passage of AB 166 (Lieu) Chapter 416/2009, created the pilot Vessel Turn-in Program (VTIP) program that allowed boat owners to voluntarily surrender a vessel to a public agency at no cost to the owner, if that vessel is in danger of being abandoned and thereby causing environmental degradation or a navigational hazard. The public agency may then immediately sell or otherwise dispose of the vessel. Any proceeds from the sale of the vessel are deposited in the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund (AWAF) to be made available for grants, issued by the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), to local agencies for the abatement, removal, storage, and disposal of any abandoned vessels or to accept surrendered vessels. The DBW is required to report to the Legislature by July 1, 2013 on the number of vessels surrendered under this pilot program and on all expenditures from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund for surrendered vessel abatement between January 1, 2010 and January 1, 2013. The voluntary vessel surrender pilot program is to sunset on January 1, 2014. Proposed Law: This bill would remove the sunset date for the SB 122 (Lieu) Page 1 pilot program and would delete the reporting requirements. Staff Comments: The DBW report regarding the implementation of the VTIP is not yet due. However, according to DBW, since the 2010, the inception of the pilot program, $400,000 from the AWAF had been appropriated for VTIP. To date, these funds have allowed public agencies to accept 165 surrendered vessels at an average cost to the state of approximately $1,600 per vessel (grantees have up to three years to spend the grant so the number of vessels affected is anticipated to increase significantly as grants are expended). For comparison, over the same time period, it cost the state over $4,000 per abandoned vessel for removal and disposal. Public agencies are highly unlikely to accept a surrendered vessel unless it receives a grant from DBW to pay for the disposal of that vessel. According to DBW, VTIP has been a substantially oversubscribed program. In FY 2010-11, FY 2011-12, and FY 2012-13, $150,000, $100,000, and $150,000 was appropriated to VTIP respectively. But as a better reflection of funding needs for surrendered vessels, DBW received funding request in excess of $260,000 in FY 2012-13. This program poses a corresponding cost pressure on the AWAF. This bill would remove the sunset date for the VTIP and thereby continues a substantial cost pressure to the AWAF. Although the AWAF is authorized in statute to receive abandoned vessel fines and revenues from abandoned vessels that have been sold, no fine or sales revenue have been received in almost 20 years. Instead, the AWAF is funded through a transfer from the Harbors and Watercraft Fund. When AB 166 was being considered, DBW indicated anticipated administrative costs of $84,000 for one PY to administer the VTIP. However no additional PY funding was ever appropriated so the administrative costs for the program have been absorbed.