City of Rifle finalizing 2019 budget
After three public workshops, Rifle City Council moved to approve the city’s budget for 2019 at its last meeting, as the general fund is projected to be up slightly next year compared to 2018. The budget will be approved on final reading at council’s next meeting.
City manger Scott Hahn said the city’s sales taxes have gone up this year and he expects that trend to continue next year.
“Currently, the economy is strong, and we are seeing a lot of business activity,” he told council at Monday’s meeting. “Sales tax and the overall economy is doing quite well. No reason to believe it is going to retreat dramatically in the next year or so.”
Total budgeted expenditures will be just under $8 million for the city this year, and that number is budgeted to increase in 2019 to just under $8.46 million.
“I think we’ve got a good budget, and next year will be a good year for revenue as well,” Hahn added. “Unemployment is low, and we’re in good shape heading to the pool project.”
Several fund budgets reflected the upcoming pool renovation project, including the city’s capital fund, with $1.6 million to be expended toward the project.
City Council will still need to approve the guaranteed maximum price before the project can move forward.
Hahn said he would like to order supplies for the project before prices increase.
The city also has a number of street and sidewalk improvement projects planned for 2019, including the Centennial Parkway design and rebuild, streetscape and alley work near Wendy’s, Hospital Hill road relocation, design of Third Street and Railroad Avenue improvements, Third Street and East Fifth Street sidewalk replacement, stormwater master plan projects, and Interstate 70 exit beautification work.
Hahn added the city has budgeted $180,000 for trail work, twice as much as was budgeted in 2018.
One of Rifle’s major infrastructure projects in 2019 will be to replace the main waterline sometime during the summer.
Hahn said the city is pursuing a number of grant opportunities for the project , including $1 million requests to the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
The city spent over $55,000 on downtown improvements in 2018, and will spend just over $75,057 on additional projects for that part of town in 2019.
Hahn said he believes that improvements to downtown will have long-term benefits for rest of the community.
At Monday night’s meeting, Hahn explained to council new staffing adjustments in the manager’s office, including cutting the assistant manager position, which is currently empty, and his desire to hire a strategic planner.
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A continued decline in natural gas industry activity in Garfield County resulted in fewer members and fewer complaints from residents over the past year for Community Counts Colorado.