Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Audit criticizes Colorado's handling of tourism program 

By: The Associated Press
October 30, 2017 Updated: October 31, 2017 at 9:31 am
0
Caption +
A couple walks down the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo on July 23, 2013. Pueblo is planning to expand and improve its riverwalk area after being awarded $14.8 million from the Regional Tourism Act. (Grant Hindsley, The Denver Post)

DENVER — A two-year audit concluded that Colorado's management of a program designed to pay for tourism projects has failed to establish proper controls and adequately monitor projects.

The state auditor's office on Monday blasted officials' handling of the Regional Tourism Act, the Denver Post reported. Passed in 2009, the act provides tax-increment financing to help fund large-scale tourism projects.

Five of nine projects that applied for funding were approved from 2012 to 2015 and awarded more than $445 million in state sales taxes to be paid throughout several decades. A total of $11.3 million has been distributed so far.

The audit, however, stated that three of those projects were approved despite a third-party analysis that found the projects didn't meet standards. Furthermore, all five project applications forecast incremental state sales tax revenue calculations that were higher than the third-party analysts' calculations, the audit stated.

State officials were unable to demonstrate how the higher calculations were justified, the audit stated. But during a Colorado Legislative Audit Committee on Monday, state economic development officials said the program is unique and has improved since it started.

Auditors also found that the state did not hold the entities behind the projects accountable for fulfilling their reporting obligations. Eleven of 57 required reports were not submitted, auditors said, and the state could not provide sufficient evidence that 32 of 64 meetings were held.

Many of the concerns from committee members center on an $81.4 million award to Aurora for the Gaylord Rockies Hotel back in May 2012.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.