May 202011

By Teri Walker–

The trash cans have been emptied and the lights switched off at the Arizona Legislature with the ending of the 2011 legislative session. Counties and municipalities statewide are left filtering through the myriad actions taken by lawmakers to determine what impacts they need to prepare for.

The aftermath is also when governments and businesses check their existing policies and practices against session outcomes to ensure all is in compliance with new rules.

SB 1165, the so-called Bounty Hunter Audit Ban, is one piece of legislation the City of Holbrook might have had cause to look closely at, as it deals with hiring independent sales tax auditors to recover delinquent taxes, a practice Holbrook has engaged in since 2008 with auditing firm Al Holler and Associates.

The new bill bans cities and towns from entering into contingent fee, or commission based, agreements with tax auditors to hunt down delinquent businesses; however, it does not exclude municipalities from contracting with independent tax auditors on a fixed-fee basis.

City Finance Director Randy Sullivan confirmed that the city’s contract with Al Holler and Associates is for a fixed fee, which is agreed upon annually. The 2011 contract is valued at $24,000.

The nature of the city’s contract keeps Holbrook in line with SB 1165, and requires no adjustments.

To date, the city has paid Al Holler and Associates $72,000, and has recovered more than $90,000 in delinquent tax revenue, with additional audits pending.