A state audit has found that the Colorado Film Office has been giving money to projects that don’t actually qualify for its funding.
The audit’s findings were released today and showed that 9 projects received almost $2 million in incentives even though none of them met all the requirements for funding. The Denverite reports that about 7 percent or $129,000 was awarded to three projects that did not qualify for any taxpayer money.
The 5 year old Colorado Film Office was established to expand and revitalize the film industry in the state. One of the ways it does that is offering tax incentives and financial rebates to films, TV shows, video games and commercials that are filmed in Colorado.
A state law approved in 2012 increased the performance based rebate from 10% to 20%, and created a new and unique loan guarantee program.
The Colorado Film website has a list of criteria that projects must meet to receive the rebates and tax breaks, but according to the new audit, it has not always adhered to its own list.
The audit found that the Film Office paid about $1.9 million in incentives for productions without having contracts in place before the projects began. The majority of this ($1.3 million) was for projects for which no contract or purchase order was ever executed, which is in violation of the 2012 law.
Tomorrow night the Boulder City Council will consider whether the city attorney should prepare a policy that would limit where sexually violent predators can reside.
While sex offenders are required to register with law enforcement, some municipalities restrict where they can live. Some cities prohibiting them from residing in proximity to parks or schools. However, some municipalities do not have any restrictions. According to the Daily Camera, the ACLU and the State’s Sex Offender Management Board do not support any restrictions.
Mark Silverstein of the Colorado ACLU said that there is very little connection between where a sex offender lives and whether they will re-offend. He added that there are constitutional issues with such measures, and urged Boulder to decline adopting residency restrictions.
The council’s consideration of the issue comes after the recent release of an offender who had been convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault while he was on probation for assaulting a child.
Mayor Suzanne Jones said that she was not happy with the decision to release the man into the community, adding that she feared women in Boulder would become guinea pigs to see if the man had been rehabilitated.
The state of Colorado has what’s believed to be an uninterrupted, 66-year-old history of not denying oil and gas companies permits to drill.
It’s a little known policy that has been disclosed twice now in court and one that state regulators acknowledge with the qualification that instead of denying a permit, they seek ways to work out potential problems with oil and gas operators.
The policy first came to light during legal proceedings in which the city of Longmont sought to defend its right to ban fracking. In a May 2014 deposition, legal counsel for a citizens group supporting the city questioned Stuart Ellsworth, an engineering manager who has worked for Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission since 2008, about the agency’s process for considering oil and gas permits.
“Do you ever just flat out deny permits to drill?” asked Gina Tincher, then a student lawyer at Sturm College of Law’s environmental law clinic. In his recollection, she asked, has a permit “ever been ultimately denied?”
“…I cannot recall one specifically denied,” he responded.
COGCC spokesman Todd Hartman said “denial” is the wrong way to frame the issue.
“What occurs is a back and forth between the operator and the agency on permit applications to address issues or problems associated with the permit,” he told The Colorado Independent.
Over the past few decades, amendments to the state’s oil and gas act have expanded the COGCC’s mission to include the protection of health, safety and the environment. The agency’s database does not include reasons why permits are withdrawn, denied or “rejected,” a third type of application response the agency added in 2014. Hartman said the option to “reject” permits is intended only for clerical issues, to reduce time COGCC staff spent dealing with errors in applications. In the past year, the COGCC has rejected 191 permits.
Many Coloradans living near oil and gas developments have said the COGCC is not doing its due diligence before approving drilling permits.