Business Buzz: Yampa Valley Data Partners reveals a boost in Northwest Colorado economics
Yampa Valley Data Partners is a nonprofit that compiles economic data for Moffat and Routt counties. Each month, the organizations release Fast Facts, highlighting trends in Northwest Colorado. The following data was released by YVDP, outlining the a boost in the economy:
Moffat County’s August 2014 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was the lowest rate Moffat had seen since December 2008. Routt County’s August unemployment rate of 3.6 percent was the lowest rate Routt County had posted since September 2008.
Real estate figures
The outset of October found Moffat County with 25 percent fewer homes listed for sale compared to the first day of summer, with the median listing price remaining within 3 percent of the six-month average. The Routt County median listing price remained within 1 percent of its six-month average.
Coal production for the first half of 2014 was up nearly 17 percent in Routt County and better than 9 percent in Moffat County compared to the same period in 2013. Moffat oil and gas numbers trailed 2013 figures, while Routt’s small quantity of gas production was up 29 percent from 2013.
Rabbit Ears and Buffalo Pass precipitation amounts, Stagecoach and Yamcolo reservoir levels and Yampa River streamflow figures all remained well above average as a moist Yampa Valley summer turned to fall.
Locals Love You More contests kicks off again
The Downtown Business Association is running the Locals Love You More contest through Dec. 31. Any locally owned business with 15 or fewer employees is invited to participate. Each participating business pays $50 and donates a prize. The prize can be merchandise, gift certificates or Spree Bucks. The $50 goes for prize money and advertising. The DBA needs payment and needs to know what your prize is ASAP so that we can include your business in advertising. Call Karen Brown 970-824-7898 or Nadine Daszkiewicz at 970-824-8148 to sign up or for more information.
DORA reduces fees for electrical and plumbing inspections
In response to growing construction demand, the Colorado Division of Professions and Occupations, a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, announced a substantial reduction in electrical and plumbing permit fees, an indicator of increased construction activity in the state, according to a press release.
Fees charged for electrical inspections saw a 50 percent reduction, while plumbing inspections were reduced by 75 percent.
Because DORA only collects enough permit revenue to cover the cost of inspection services for customers, the influx of permit requests enabled DORA to reduce permit fees substantially. Requests for electrical permits increased nearly 14 percent from 2012 to 2014 — from 13,400 to 15,272. Likewise, Plumbing permits increased by nearly 36 percent over this same period — from 2,689 to 3,658.
DORA evaluates permit fees each year. The fee reduction, which was announced in September, will be re-evaluated next year and may be adjusted to generate sufficient revenue to cover costs. DORA continually strives to deliver timely inspections at the least cost.
Electrical and plumbing permit fees are required by state law prior to installing electrical wiring, plumbing or gas pipelines, which often trail construction and home-improvement activity across the state. Permits are issued by the State Electrical Board and State Plumbing Board within DORA’s Division of Professions and Occupations. Permits are issued to either a state-registered contractor or a homeowner and may be requested online or in-person.
DORA offers tips for hiring an electrician or plumber
Avoid a flood of problems or fires by hiring a qualified electrician or plumber by following these guidelines:
• Check for licensure: Electricians and plumbers are required to be licensed in the state of Colorado. Electrical and plumbing contractors also are required to obtain a registration before offering services in the state. Verify a license and check for discipline at http://askdora.colorado.gov.
• Ask about insurance: Verify the electrician or plumber is insured just in case something goes wrong on the job. State law requires electricians and plumbers abide by insurance and worker compensation laws.
• Compare quotes: Get at least three quotes for a project before selecting an electrician, plumber or contractor. The State Electrical and Plumbing Boards cannot take action in billing disputes so do your homework before entering any agreement.
• Flood victims: If your home suffered damage in the 2013 floods, contact the State Electrical and Plumbing Boards for a free damage assessment. A state inspector will visit your property to evaluate the damage and provide a written report outlining the repairs that are needed. Armed with this professional, unbiased information, consumers are prepared to compare bids and avoid unscrupulous contractors.
• Do it yourself: Homeowners looking to do the work themselves can find guidance for electrical and plumbing installations at http://www.dora.colorado.gov/professions/electrical or http://www.dora.colorado.gov/professions/plumbing and clicking on “Permits and Inspections.”
Colorado treats marijuana taxes like ‘a piggy bank,’ but top lawmakers want to limit spending to two areas
The complaints from constituents and policy advocates are aimed at the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, a depository for about half of the $272 million the state is expected to generate this fiscal year from marijuana-related taxes. The legislature has guidelines for how the money should be spent, but lawmakers can use it for just about anything they want. And in practice, they do, splitting the money among dozens of different programs, across more than a dozen state agencies.