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Aug 06

Meet Your City Council - Barb Clifton

Posted on August 6, 2018 at 9:54 AM by Michael Churchill

  1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.    My name is Barb Clifton.  It has been my privilege to serve on the Rifle City Council for 5 years.  I was the Mayor Pro Tem (Deputy Mayor ) for 2 years and now serve as Mayor.  I have lived in Rifle for 16 years.  I am married to Patrick Burwell and we have two daughters Erin, 21, and Kayla, 19. 
  2. Why did you want to serve on Rifle City Council? I wanted to serve on the Rifle City Council because I live and work in Rifle. My children are grown now but went to school in Rifle.  My husband grew up here and his father, John Burwell, was the Rifle High School principal for close to 17 years. My family has deep roots in Rifle and I have a vested interest in seeing the City of Rifle succeed.  
  3. What is your background? I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.  I went to college in Kentucky to show horses and I graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration from Morehead State University. I worked in banking for 5 years and then went to law school at Arizona State University in Tempe. I am an attorney with my own law practice and I also work for Commonwealth Title Company. 
  4. What community boards or activities have you been involved in?  I am a past member of the Rifle Planning and Zoning Commission and served part-time as the City’s Administrative Law Judge hearing zoning and liquor license violations.  I served on the board of directors for Rifle Animal Shelter for 12 years.  I am currently on the board of directors for VetTrans, Inc., a non-profit started by Councilor Joe Carpenter to provide transportation and assistance to veterans in our community, and the Rifle Community Foundation, which gives grants to local non-profits and to school projects.  
  5. What changes have you seen at the City during your time on City Council? During the time I have served on Council, the City has made several changes in its management to better reflect the priorities of City government.   For example, one of the City’s primary duties is to provide water, sewer, and streets.  We now have a 5-year and 15-year capital plan that sets out the timing of maintenance and necessary improvements to water, sewer, and street infrastructure to be sure these items are always included in the budget.  We have started doing formal surveys of citizens to gauge your priorities on items like recreation, pool, trails, etc.  and to determine what the City is doing right and what we could do better. City Council also started a community outreach program where several Councilmembers go into the community to speak with citizens at the Rifle Senior Center, Rifle High School basketball games, and Broncos football games televised at the Ute Theatre among other venues.  We are using this input to help create our strategic plan and then linking the budget to the strategic plan to be sure that the City’s revenue is spent in a manner that ties to our priorities.  
  6. What does the City need to continue to work on? The major issue that I see that the City needs to continue to work on is economic diversity.   Economic diversity is critical in that it allows the City and its citizens to avoid the boom and bust cycle that has happened in the past. It also helps to create the sales tax revenue that allows City government to function.  The increase in online retailers means that the City needs to look for businesses that create experiences that cannot be purchased online.  For example, specialized or boutique shopping,   dining, and events such as concerts and events generate sales tax revenue but also create the type of environment where people want to live and therefore where businesses want to locate.  
  7. What projects has the City identified as a priority? Two of the major projects are the pool and City Hall. The pool project is an approximately $7.7 million rebuild that includes a six-lane lap pool with a diving board and climbing wall. Additionally, there will be a zero-depth-entry kids pool with splash features.  The current pool has been a mainstay of recreation activities, swim lessons, and summer jobs for kids for nearly sixty years and is need of a complete overhaul.  The current City Hall was built in the 1980s and has some serious security, heating and cooling, and accessibility issues.  We are investigating whether it makes more sense to remodel or to rebuild City Hall to be sure that is functional for decades in the future.          
  8. What has been your favorite moment on the City Council?  I have several favorite memories. Two of  my favorites are the meeting where Tulo (Rifle’s drug dog) received his protective vest and at least 10 other canine officers from different agencies  and their police dogs came to the meeting in support of Tulo and the meeting where Sunlight’s Mini-Mayor, 6-year-old Colby Rogers, called our City Council meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance.  I also enjoyed Theresa Hamilton and I talking with the first graders about local government in Kelly Bina’s class at Graham Mesa Elementary.   I think my favorite aspect of being on City Council, however, is the ability of Council members to disagree on issues but respect each other and work together on a resolution in a manner that, unfortunately, is not seen on many levels of government today. Overall, I am very grateful and humbled by the citizens electing me to serve on City Council and I appreciate the experience more with every interaction I have with staff and citizens.   


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