Baumgardner, White offer to help Hayden

Town manager told Ritter, legislators about concerns with fuel sales tax at Yampa Valley Regional Airport

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Al White

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Randy Baumgardner

— Lawmakers representing Hayden said Wednesday they'd try to help the town resolve a sales tax issue.

State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, and state Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, said they hadn't heard about the town's attempt to collect sales tax revenue from commercial fuel at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Both said they were willing to lend a hand.

"If there's dollars been collected that are owing to the town, I can certainly facilitate a meeting to see what we can do," White said.

Baumgardner said he would consult with his Senate counterpart.

"What I can do is I can get with Sen. White, and maybe him and I can work together on it to see if we can come up with some type of a solution," Baumgardner said.

Hayden officials wrote a letter to Gov. Bill Ritter on Tuesday and planned to send copies to Baumgardner and White. Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin has said the town estimates that it's owed $60,000 to $70,000 from sales last fall.

Galaxy Aviation, which took over as the fixed-base operator in September, has nothing to do with the problem, Martin said in an e-mail. The town has received its sales tax from Galaxy since the company took over from Spectrum Jet Center. The concern is related to ConocoPhillips, which sells the fuel Galaxy pumps into commercial aircrafts.

According to the town's letter to Ritter, "We have learned that at the time of ownership exchange, Conoco Phillips Company took over the commercial jet fuel sales, although they applied for a State/local sales tax license for a start date of January 1, 2009. We spoke to airport personnel who witnessed Conoco Phillip's presence at the airport since October 2008 and saw that they were fueling commercial jets."

Martin has said it was his understanding that ConocoPhillips had paid its sales tax to the state but that the state hadn't given it to Hayden because of the confusion about the sales tax license. A ConocoPhillips spokesman said the company was looking into the issue and hoped to provide information about it today.

The town also expressed frustration with the state Department of Revenue.

"On numerous occasions, Town staff has contacted various Department of Revenue personnel to discuss this concern, and have not gotten satisfactory response, and in some cases, no response at all," the letter to Ritter stated. "We are hoping that you may be able to help us to obtain the 'missing' revenue that is a significant resource for the Town."

Revenue Department spokesman Mark Couch said Wednesday that he hadn't been able to find any information he could release. The information he has is confidential because it relates to a specific taxpayer, Couch said.

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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