Audit finds Rifle in good financial standing, no red flags |

Audit finds Rifle in good financial standing, no red flags

An audit conducted on Rifle’s 2020 financial statements found no red flags, according to a Denver-based accounting firm.

Hinkle & Associates certified public accountant Jim Hinkle told Rifle City Council during a workshop on June 16 that the city’s financial statements are in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles.

The city later unanimously passed the audit report during the regular meeting.

“And based upon our analysis of the internal control structure and our testing of those control features, we did not find any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in internal control structure,” he said. “So that’s the result that you will want to hear.”

But what’s most interesting, Hinkle said, is how much revenue the city of Rifle actually accrued during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to numbers presented by Hinkle, Rifle generated about $15.12 million in revenue.

In 2019, the city accumulated about $15 million, which means the city actually increased its revenue by about $120,000 despite a global pandemic throwing a wrench into local commercial and industrial activities.

Tax collections that went into the 2020 general fund also saw a slight increase. Tax revenue increased from $6.3 million in 2019 to $6.6 million in 2020.

The only decreases Hinkle highlighted were intergovernmental funds and grants. They decreased from $1.6 million in 2019 to about $1.4 million in 2020.

“We had kind of a flip-flop there,” Hinkle said. “But all in all the city was able to maintain the overall revenue stream. Expenditures were only up overall because of the capital outlay that was planned.”

Meanwhile, the city saw $7.2 million in the general fund by the end of 2020. That’s about a $51,000 decrease from 2019.

City Finance Director Michelle Duran praised the city’s current level of liquidity.

“I had an email exchange with our attorney this afternoon, and he said, ‘Is it really true that you have $39 million in cash? Because when I started with the city in 2000’ he thought they had about $500,000 in cash,” she said. “So, yeah, that’s the right number.”

Duran said some of that money is reserved for long-term use.

“About a third of that — about $10 million — is invested in long-term items that will mature in 2022 and 2023, like bonds and stuff, because we can earn a little bit more on that,” she said. “But all the rest is in fairly liquid funds that we could put our hands on in 24 hours.”

Hinkle said the city has solid financial resources available.

“I think that shows financial discipline, both current and over the prior years as well,” he said.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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