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Rifle to launch dashboard showing how it’s spending federal rescue plan funding


Rifle anticipates receiving at least $2.4 million in American Rescue Act funds, and is preparing to launch an online dashboard simulation allowing users to view which projects the city tackles with the money.

Rifle City Finance Director Michelle Duran told Rifle City Council during a Feb. 16 workshop that after consulting with city officials, they’ve devised a diverse list highlighting each project.

“We’re trying to gauge community interest,” Duran said.



Using this online platform, people can see what projects the city is trying to execute along with brief explainers as to why the projects are needed.

Visitors will be asked whether they support the project. Estimated costs for each project will also be included.



Duran said the new dashboard costs about $4,900 annually and will be linked to the city website once it’s ready.

“It’s just a way to engage,” Duran said. “It’s the same as if we had all these people come to the meeting and tell you what they thought.”

PROJECTS DISCUSSION

Rifle council members also discussed Wednesday all other projects on the city’s streets improvements plan.

According to the city documents, past and future budgets have exceeded revenue. Over the past 10 years — with the exception of 2017 — the street improvement fund has incurred an average yearly spending deficit of $669,743.

“From budgets from 2012, we’ve generally been in the red for the street fund,” city civil engineer Craig Spaulding said.

Funding for priority roadway projects could include using American Rescue funds and the possibility of increasing sales tax by up to half a cent.

The 10-year capital improvement plan includes 29 major infrastructure projects, plus annual maintenance costs. The city needs at least $2.78 million in street improvement revenue to support those costs.

City Manager Tommy Klein advised the City Council that using American Rescue funds for top priority projects would help alleviate deficit spending in the street improvement fund.

“I think that we can use some (American Rescue) money to shave off some of the pain a little bit,” he said.

If the city decides to keep funding as is, capital projects including street replacements will be cut, while maintenance of roadways will focus on only the best roads while letting others deteriorate.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@citizentelegram.com.


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