The White House is expected to set up a high-level panel within the next month to speed up disposal of federal property that is not used or needed.
The move to create a Real Property Review Board, as outlined in President Reagan's fiscal 1983 budget, is part of an administration plan to sell off federal property as a way of raising more than $4 billion in new revenues by fiscal 1984.
Under the president's proposals, the government no longer would donate federal land and buildings to state and local governments, except for use as correctional facilities. That exception is made, according to the budget, "because of the president's strong commitment" to helping state and local governments upgrade their criminal justice systems.
The government also would no longer donate land to colleges and nonprofit groups or offer it at discount prices.
In addition, federal agencies would no longer be able to buy the surplus property of other agencies at discount prices. Instead the agencies would have to pay the full price "to improve asset management and expose acquisitions to budgetary review," according to the budget.
It would be the primary job of the new Real Property Review board to set policy on property disposition issues and to arbitrate disputes.
Since January, a task force headed by Darrell M. Trent, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, has been preparing the formal plan for President Reagan. Trent, executive director of a Real Property Review Board created during the Nixon administration and then allowed to lapse, presented the plan to the White House last week.
The change in policy for donating government property is expected to draw criticism from the groups that have benefited in the past, as well as some members of Congress. Already, the House Government Operations Committee is planning a review.
In 1981, for instance, the government donated a lighthouse in St. Mary's County, Md., to the state for use as a park; land in Crisfield, Md., that had been set aside for a Coast Guard family housing area to the local school system, and part of the Manassas Air Force Station in Virginia to the Prince William County school system.
Reagan has supported changing the policy since before he was elected, according to an OMB official. Proponents of the change have pointed to an earlier study by the General Accounting Office that found instances when properties were not used for the reasons for which they were donated.
OMB expects to raise $60 million in fiscal 1983 and $250 million in fiscal 1984 by changing these policies and making sales to the public more competitive.
The effort to bring more unused federal property to market could add another $1 billion to the federal treasury in fiscal 1983 and $4 billion a year in fiscal 1984 through fiscal 1987.
Now, property disposals are handled primarily by the General Services Administration and the Interior Department. As proposed now, the White House-level review board would have five to seven members, four from the federal government.
"Part of the reason a board such as this is necessary are the many claims that are often voiced on a piece of property," Trent said, adding that now there is no "higher authority" to serve as arbitrator.
"If we can emphasize clearing titles, and making land available that the private sector wants, then we'll be doing what the president wants."