The Denver City Hall building is pictured on Oct. 3,2020. (Forrest Czarnecki/The Denver Gazette)

The Denver City Council released its priorities for the city’s 2022 budget Thursday as the council begins discussions regarding the budget drafting process.

The council’s six core budget priorities – determined through council member suggestions during policy committee meetings – revolve around preventing gentrification, addressing homelessness, improving public safety and tackling climate change.

The complete list presented at the council's finance committee meeting is as follows:

  1. Mitigate and reduce involuntary displacement of community members and businesses. 
  2. Increase affordable housing options and support for those experiencing homelessness throughout the city. 
  3. Reframe safety in a public health, evidence-based and anti-racist approach with community investment to ensure healthy neighborhoods. 
  4. Prioritize and support the recovery, resilience and innovation of Denver’s workforce, local businesses and community organizations. 
  5. Protect the natural environment though policy and investment in communities to combat climate change. 
  6. Increase complete multi-model transportation connections throughout the city. 

Each of the priorities is to be viewed through an equity lens to assure that disadvantaged groups affected by decisions are represented in the decision-making process, including those historically oppressed because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, immigration status and age.

Council members will now begin to consider policy recommendations on how to achieve the six core priorities, ranking each policy based on its importance. This ranking will be conducted via a council-wide survey sent to members Thursday and due by next Friday.

Policy recommendations in the survey include paid family leave, permanent tiny homes, incentivizing grocery stores to go to food deserts, youth crime prevention, providing technical assistance for small businesses and nonprofits and creating a restroom, shower and storage network for homeless residents.

After the survey results are collected, the council members will convene in-person to discuss the budget on June 11. A first draft of the budget will be released on July 1, a final draft is expected in September.

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