Budget process nears completion for Rifle’s 2014 spending plan
Citizen Telegram Editor
The second and final public hearing on the City of Rifle’s 2014 draft budget may or may not get more public comments as the first hearing – zero.
City Council is scheduled to hold the second public hearing on the spending plan at its Wednesday, Nov. 20, meeting. Adoption of the budget and certification of mill levies is scheduled for Dec. 4.
At the council’s Nov. 6 meeting, no citizens came forward to give input on the draft budget, which calls for a hold-the-line approach for both revenues and expenditures.
City Manager Matt Sturgeon explained the $6.7 million general fund, the city’s largest fund, is expected to have an $180,000 shortfall.
The city is anticipating sales and use tax revenues to be flat compared to the projected 2013 figure of $3.4 million, but a drop in property tax revenue from $665,000 at the end of this year to $516,000 next year, Sturgeon noted.
Overall, Sturgeon said the city expects to have some $8 million in expenditures next year, leading to a $1.3 million shortfall that will be covered from funds in the city’s $5 million reserve fund.
“We’ve reduced expenditures since the recession started in 2008,” Sturgeon said. “So we’re still looking at a very healthy reserve fund balance by the end of 2014.”
Sturgeon also noted the city has come in under budget for expenditures in each of the last five years.
The street improvement fund, which gets its revenue from a voter-approved half-cent sales tax, calls for $1.6 million in expenditures, including chip and seal and drainage improvement projects, Sturgeon said.
The street capital improvement fund does not include any major projects for the coming year, since the State of Colorado did not approve a grant to help move the north roundabout project at the I-70 intersection forward, he said.
The parks and recreation fund, with revenue from a one-cent sales tax, calls for $2.6 million in revenue and $3.5 million in expenditures, Sturgeon explained. A major improvement project will be at Deerfield Park, he added, with funds from the state lottery and Garfield School District Re-2 helping with concession stands, a press box at the baseball field and other enhancements.
The city plans to spend no money on the Rifle Fitness Center, Sturgeon said. The Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp., which has operated the center for the last several years in partnership with the city, will seek a private owner for the center. That will save the city around $300,000, Sturgeon noted.
The draft 2014 budget can be viewed on the city web site, rifleco.org. Under the “departments” tab at the top, go to finance, then budgets. Printed copies are available at city hall, 202 Railroad Ave., Sturgeon added.
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Students from Rifle and Coal Ridge high schools were asked Friday to transition to online learning and quarantine for 10 days, Garfield County District Re-2 announced.