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The City of Murrieta is seeking to finance the expansion of a public business center through a unique source: government “crowdfunding.” The southern Riverside municipality is among the first in the nation to enlist the help of Citizinvestor, a sort of Kickstarter for government projects.

If enough voluntary contributions can be raised in the next month, Murrieta will spend $3000 or more to expand its Regional Technology Innovation Center, a space in the old City Hall set up to provide low-rent space and support for start-up tech companies, with the hopes that they’ll expand and move into nearby private office space, improving the City’s tax base and creating jobs for local residents, many of whom commute to San Diego and Orange County to work.

Since the Citizinvestor launch last September, a dozen projects have been promoted. Of eight that have passed their fundraising deadlines, five were successful, the site’s co-founder Jordan Raynor tells the Reader.

The site takes a 5% cut on earnings on all successful projects, plus another 3% for payment processing – a fee schedule very similar to Kickstarter and other crowdfunding websites.

At the moment, Murrieta is the only city in the region working with Citizinvestor, though more projects are said to be in the works.

“We have a good half-dozen municipalities in Southern California who have privately committed to posting projects to Citizinvestor,” says Raynor, declining to provide specifics. “These municipalities are in the process of identifying which projects make sense to post first.”

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