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City documents show over $131 million in unspent utilities money

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By Sean Kennedy

Brighton city government has approximately $131.6 million in unspent utility funding, according to city budget records. 

A Brighton Blade investigation of Brighton’s water, wastewater and storm drainage funds found that from 2014 through 2018, the city spent only 27 percent of the money it budgeted for projects related to water, wastewater and storm drainage. In total, the revised budgets add up to more than $180.3 million in project funding over five years. As of June 30, only $48.6 million of that funding has been spent. 

The budget records, sent to the Blade by councilman Matt Johnston, show significant variance in budget and the percentage of funding spent. In 2015, the city budgeted $32.4 million for water, waste water and storm drainage projects but used less than 10 percent of the funding. This year, the city has spent nearly 80 percent of the project funding through June 30. In 2017, the city spent less than 19 percent of a nearly $66 million budget. 

City officials did not respond to calls for comment on the use or whereabouts of the unspent funding by press time. 

Utilities director Curt Bauers was fired last week. The reasons have not been disclosed. Bauers joined city staff in 2014. Before that, he held a similar position in Commerce City.

Visit www.thebrightonblade.com for updates to this story as it develops.