DENVER — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday submitted his budget proposal to City Council for consideration.
The $1.49 billion budget includes funds for affordable housing and alternative transportation options and invests money to combat climate change. City Council committees will begin budget hearings next week, with final adoption in November.
After years of unprecedented growth, Denver’s revenue performance is beginning to slow, according to a release from the city. While the city continues to see healthy revenue growth from the retail and tourism sectors, those gains are being offset by significant softening in automobile and manufacturing and construction-related sales.
“This budget proposal is balanced, fiscally responsible, maintains healthy reserves and preserves our AAA bond ratings with all three rating agencies,” said Hancock. “It prepares us for uncertain economic times, and it intentionally builds equity into its core.”
The 2020 budget proposal dedicates $97 million toward affordable and attainable housing and resources for our residents experiencing homelessness, including $71.3 million toward the new Department of Housing Stability.
- $30 million for projects and programs funded through the Affordable Housing Fund, which provides targeted resources for the development, preservation, and programming of affordable housing across the city;
- $1 million in total funding for the Denver Day Works and Colfax Works programs, which provide employment opportunities for people experiencing homelessness; and
- $1 million to expand day shelter programming to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with new opportunities to access shelter and services and develop a sustainable pathway to long-term housing.
Diversity and inclusion
Hancock also proposed $3 million for citywide equity, inclusion, and race and social justice work to include the following:
- Increasing funding to support community resiliency through Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Team (NEST);
- Expanding the Race and Social Justice Initiative;
- Funding the full implementation of the criminal justice reforms passed by the state legislature in House Bill 19-1263 and Senate Bill 19-191;
- Ensuring the highest levels of ADA compliance;
- Supporting the legal defense of immigrants and refugees; and
- Funding additional recreation center programming and continuing youth camps in underserved communities.
Transportation and mobility
The 2020 budget proposal combines a variety of funding sources, including the General Fund and the Capital Improvement Program, to invest more than $118 million toward the buildout of Denver’s multimodal transportation system.
In addition, the city will conduct a third issuance of the Elevate Denver Bond program later in 2019, which will include $48 million in additional mobility and transportation infrastructure investments.
To improve safety, increase mobility options, manage and mitigate congestion, and address climate change, investments include:
- $3.7 million in new and equitable transit solutions to advance the Denver Moves Transit plan;
- $11.4 million, which includes $6.4 million in planned Elevate Denver Bond funding, to design and construct projects throughout the city to advance our goal of building 125 miles of bikeways in five years and making streets safer for bicyclists; and
- $6.8 million, which includes $3 million of planned Elevate Denver Bond funding, to complete more than five miles of sidewalk gaps, and improve pedestrian crossings citywide.
Climate change and the environment
The 2020 proposal invests a total of $40 million to advance the city's response to climate change. The money funds the establishment of a new Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency, which will work to engage the community in efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.
- $2 million to expand composting, recycling, solid waste diversion programs and community education;
- $2.9 million to purchase electric vehicles and invest in electric vehicle infrastructure; and
- $1.3 million for incentives, Energize Denver, and green building compliance.
The 2020 budget sets aside $864 million for neighborhood investments, which include:
- $34.2 million in total funds for neighborhood programs including additional funds to accelerate neighborhood planning efforts and increase support for residential design to improve standards and quality in neighborhoods as recommended in Comprehensive Plan 2040;
- $153 million in general fund, Capital Improvement dollars and parks and open space sales tax revenue is dedicated to our parks, trails, recreation centers, and natural spaces to meet the goals outlined in Denver’s Game Plan for a Healthy City, expand access to our parks and recreation centers, and improve our parks and recreation facilities. In addition, the city will conduct a third issuance of the Elevate Denver Bond program later in 2019, which will include $28 million in additional funds to revitalize parks and bring health and wellness to more neighborhoods across the city;
- $6.2 million to hire 40 new police officers, 15 new firefighters, and nine new sheriff deputies
The budget maintains the General Fund reserve at 15% of projected expenditures, or $223.6 million.
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