Print Cottonwood hires CPA to collect sales tax
Written by Greg Ruland   
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 00:00

A certified public accountant hired by Cottonwood City Council promises to increase city tax collections by educating and closely monitoring local businesses.

Council voted unanimously Dec. 7 in favor of contracting with Donald E. Zelechowski, a Scottsdale CPA who is considered an expert on the transaction privilege tax, which is sales tax collected by local businesses.

Zelechowski will be paid $52 an hour, or as much as $17,000 a year, to audit tax collections during the three-year term of the agreement. Zelechowski provided similar servCottonwood Administrative Services General Manager Rudy Rodriguezouncil.

The agreement can be canceled by Zelechowski or the city on 30 days notice.

“Mr. Zelechowski has done an outstanding job for the city for nearly 16 years,” Rodriguez told council. “He works well with his clients and the staff.”

Rodriguez declared a conflict of interest and did not recommend Zelechowski for the job because Zelechowski was the best man at his wedding, he said. Officially, City Manager Doug Bartosh made the recommendation.

A selection committee to review Zelechowski’s qualifications was not convened because he was the only CPA to offer his services in response to a public request for proposals dated Oct. 27, Bartosh stated in his written recommendation.
“It is costly to do so with only one qualified proposer,” Bartosh wrote.

In his written proposal, Zelechowski stated he would help the city collect as much as three times the contract price, or $51,000, in transaction privilege taxes.

Zelechowski will be responsible for enforcing local tax laws, educating businesses about tax issues and assisting them to make sure their tax accounting is correct.

He will also study trends in privilege tax collections and advise the city on how such collections will impact the budget.

“My comprehensive privilege tax revenue enhancement and audit program has proven results,” Zelechowski wrote. “What is proposed for your community is a program consisting of information projects, tax payment verification and privilege tax audits.”
Zelechowski stated his work will enable the city to more easily fund its budget.

Not all businesses are required to pay the transaction privilege tax, but many are, including restaurants, retailers, hotels, motels, prime contractors and 11 other business classifications.

A graduate of Arizona State University, Zelechowski contracted with both the cities of Scottsdale and Casa Grande to provide similar services prior to signing on with Cottonwood.