The city of Durango on Friday was less than a week away from losing access to funding for not having filed its 2020 budget with the state of Colorado, according to state documents.
The Department of Local Affairs warned that if the city did not file a complete copy of its adopted budget by Feb. 27, the state agency would direct the La Plata County treasurer to withhold tax revenue from the municipality.
DOLA sent a “late notice” dated Feb. 13, but the city had not received a copy of the letter as of Friday afternoon, apparently because the letter was sent by snail mail, said interim City Manager Amber Blake. After an inquiry from The Durango Herald, the city submitted a copy of the budget adopted Dec. 3 by Durango City Council.
Colorado law requires municipalities to file a complete copy of a municipal budget with DOLA by Jan. 31, according to the late notice. Durango resident John Simpson obtained a digital copy of the late notice and shared it with the Herald.
The Dec. 3 adopted budget is riddled with errors – including a $10 million typo – and City Council plans to adopt an amended and accurate budget document early next month, Blake said. The city plans to file an amended budget document with DOLA after council approves revised spending in March.
“We’re making sure the 300-page book is in good working order,” Blake said.
City councilors contacted on Friday afternoon also said they were unaware of the late notice from DOLA, a state agency charged with providing assistance to local governments.
DOLA has done preliminary work with the city related to technical assistance to ensure budget numbers are accurate, said Natriece Bryant, deputy executive director at DOLA.
But before the city submitted its budget with the agency Friday afternoon, the Division of Local Government had not heard from Durango officials concerning a final and complete budget document, Bryant said.
“It’s important that taxpayers understand where their money is going,” she said.