Denver City and County Building

The Denver City and County Building.

The Denver City Council sent a letter to Mayor Michael Hancock Friday, suggesting 12 additions to his $1.49 billion city budget proposal for 2022.

The 12 proposed additions total to over $3.5 million spread across nine city agencies. This comes after the council held 19 budget hearings and two working sessions over the past several weeks, discussing Hancock’s budget proposal.

The current budget amounts to $1.49 billion, with the most significant delegations being nearly $568 million for public safety, $140 million for transportation and infrastructure, $117 million for independent agencies and $101 million for the finance department.

“After almost two years of COVID-19 directly impacting our Denver communities, council has strived to make the 2022 budget one that will allow our city to move forward together,” said Council President Stacie Gilmore. “These budget requests from City Council truly encompass the voices and values of our constituents.”

The proposed additions that received support from a supermajority of council members are as follows:

  • $150,000 to the Denver Public Library to make the library’s four digital navigators full-year positions, instead of half-year.
  • $132,038 to the City Attorney’s Office to hire an assistant city attorney associate for the City Council.
  • $35,000 to Denver Parks and Recreation to buy the Denver Municipal Band a stage and fund free, outdoor concerts.
  • $35,000 to an undesignated agency to study the potential establishment of an Office of Community Engagement in Denver.
  • $1.5 million to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to expand Denver’s Safe Routes to Schools program.
  • $90,000 to the Office on Aging for services and supplies including technology access, food support, events, training and yard clean-ups.
  • $500,000 to Human Rights and Community Partnerships to hire fellows for the immigrant legal defense program, with funds split over two years.
  • $400,000 to the City Attorney’s Office to hire one full-time employee and fund outside legal support for Denver’s housing team.

The letter also includes four proposals that received majority support, but not a supermajority:

  • $350,000 to Community Planning and Development or the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to hire an engineering firm subject matter expert for a railroad safety analysis.
  • $270,000 to the Office of Human Resources to hire a full-time contractor to provide trauma response services for non-safety city employees.
  • $200,000 to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to study converting York and Josephine streets from one-way to two-way between East 46th and East 40th avenues.
  • $150,000 to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a health equity director position.

In addition, the council’s letter asked Hancock to use existing funding sources to support building a full-service substance abuse treatment facility and making council offices accessible for people with disabilities.

“We are already seeing signs that Denver’s emergence from the pandemic will be strong,” said Councilwoman Jamie Torres. “We have a tremendous responsibility to ensure we do not get distracted in our enthusiasm and slip backwards in our commitment to equity or lose sight of our most vulnerable populations and their recovery.”

Gilmore delivered the council’s letter to Hancock at noon Friday. Hancock has until Oct. 18 to review the proposals and submit his updated budget to the council for a public hearing scheduled on Oct. 25.

On Nov. 1, the council will vote on amendments to the budget (needing seven votes to pass) or to override Hancock’s rejection of proposed amendments (needing nine votes to pass). The final budget proposal will need to be approved by the council on Nov. 8 before it can be implemented.