County calls on state to cut red tape with CDOT, taxes
Summit Daily News
BRECKENRIDGE – Expediting the Colorado Department of Transportation contracting process and cleaning up state sales tax collections topped Summit County’s list of suggestions to improve state government procedures.
The ideas, which focused on ways to streamline regulations and policies primarily at CDOT and the Colorado Department of Revenue, were put forward by county government as part of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s bottom-up economic development plan. The plan included promises to cut red tape.
In a report submitted to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the county called for CDOT to reduce contract preparation time – which currently can take more than a year – and to streamline road maintenance work, such as snowplowing, with local efforts.
The list of suggestions also targeted the Department of Revenue, saying the office is frequently “inefficient and inaccurate” in state sales tax collection procedures.
Local business owners reported, “receiving numerous notices of unpaid sales tax for taxes that were, in fact, paid,” county officials stated in the report.
The county itself has also had trouble with the Sales Tax Division, which collects county sales taxes from businesses, but sometimes gets backed up and does not return the money to local officials on time.
“If they don’t get something processed down there, we have to wait another whole month to get our money,” county finance director Marty Ferris said.
The county’s suggestions draw attention to sales tax division problems officials hope will be corrected in the near future with the implementation of a more advanced computer system.
“Clearly this is a waste of state resources and creates a lack of trust in state government,” the county report stated of the sales tax collection problems. “The business community will appreciate any improvements allowed by the new computer system.”
Following a lengthy process to implement a “very modest” fee increase at Green Mountain Reservoir that has now been stalled for six years, the county also suggested Colorado abolish the use of a recreational resource advisory committee, which it faulted for the delay. The committee process, part of a federally mandated review of US Forest Service fee increases, has been eliminated in two other states.
Hickenlooper launched the bottom-up economic development plan shortly after his inauguration this year. The process included reaching out to counties, businesses and individuals statewide for input on ways to jump-start and nourish the Colorado economy.
The final plan, crafted from local input, promises the state government will develop a business-friendly environment in Colorado by changing the culture of unfunded mandates on local governments, working with local governments to develop more uniform tax and fee procedures and creating policy changes that improve efficiency and effectiveness in government.
More information on the bottom up economic development plan is available at the Office of Economic Development website at http://1.usa.gov/qAn7uN.
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