“Somebody has to do the work. If you like where you live, you must be willing to step up.”
That’s why Councilman Joe Elliott wanted to serve on City Council. What a perfect reason. A lifelong resident of Rifle and Garfield County, Joe has worked for Colorado Mountain College as a commercial builder and project manager since 1998. He is coming up on his fourth year serving the City. His wife, Natalie Bowman, is the Executive Director of Rifle Senior Housing Authority. These are people with deep ties and commitment to the community.
Joe notes that his desire to serve Rifle stems from his adoration for the City and its government. He likes “what’s going on in the town and likes what staff has been doing”. He further states that the most important thing is to stay focused, keep priorities straight and recognize the benefits of maintaining great employees. Ensuring adequate training and compensation is key to creating a great City team. Joe believes that exceptional skillsets should be acknowledged.
When asked about the City itself, Councilman Elliott states that Rifle’s greatest asset is location. The moderate climate makes it “easy and fun to live here”. There are so many activities within an hour in any direction. Every outdoor sport imaginable can be found here or nearby.
As for City policy, investing in infrastructure needs to remain a top priority. Continually improving to create a nice place for people to live is crucial. The key ingredient is homes. “We need places for them to live.” Joe believes that Rifle should finish some of the development already begun and fill in existing neighborhoods. The water and wastewater facilities have contributed to the desirability of the City and will continue to be a draw.
Joe does caution that while we need to be big enough to sustain ourselves, we realistically can’t do everything we would like to do. Prioritizing projects and visions is crucial. He is excited about the new long term care facility and believes it will benefit the entire region. However, there are a few specific traffic spots he would like to see improved. The intersections of Whiteriver Avenue and 16th and Whiteriver Avenue and Birch need to be studied to ascertain whether a different traffic pattern or additional stop signs could make those areas less congested and safer.
Improving downtown is also a goal. Good streets and good sidewalks are a few ways to make it attractive and a great place to visit and hang out. Joe believes that “we need to make downtown pop” to lure tourists and locals into the downtown area.
Another area that Councilman Elliott would like to focus on would be the Hispanic community. He invites the community to have people serve on the various boards. He would also like to see Hispanic community members run for seats on Council. This is a large segment of our demographic which needs to be represented.
To meet Joe Elliott or any of our Council members, citizens are encouraged to attend City Council meetings. City Council meets at 7:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month in City Hall which is located at 202 Railroad Avenue. Sessions are also televised on community TV and available on the RifleNow website.
This is the second to last of our features on the members of Rifle City Council. If you have suggestions for future articles or City Of Rifle questions you would like answered, please contact Kathy Pototsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.