Using stimulus to eye stimulus spending riles Colorado agencies |

Using stimulus to eye stimulus spending riles Colorado agencies

Miles Moffeit
The Denver Post

Gov. Bill Ritter has ordered state agencies to set aside stimulus money to monitor program spending, raising concerns that millions of dollars for job-producing projects might be sacrificed.

The effort, according to a memo sent to budget officers last week, will allow the state to guard against “fraud, waste and abuse” of the more than $3.5 billion in stimulus funds awarded to Colorado.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the state can sock away 0.5 percent of most stimulus dollars for auditing and tracking recovery programs.

But some ARRA grants can’t be used to fund such monitoring, meaning the state’s overstretched general fund could ultimately have to absorb some costs.

“It is critical that these conditions be kept to a minimum” by exploring what stimulus dollars can be used, the memo states. The governor’s office has yet to release an estimate of what it will cost to adequately police stimulus revenues.

Executives in the highway department are raising concerns about the approach, saying they stand to lose $2 million in stimulus funds when they already face multiple layers of scrutiny from federal agencies such as the highway administration.

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