DENVER — The Denver City Council unanimously passed a $1.74 billion budget for 2024 Monday afternoon, following weeks of negotiations with Mayor Mike Johnston's office after he released his budget proposals in September.
The final version, passed by council, includes substantially more money for rental and utility assistance, as Denver is on track to set a new record for evictions.
While the block of council members pushing for more money for rental assistance was large enough to override a hypothetical veto from the mayor, Johnston's office said in a statement the budget delivers on his top priorities.
"I'm proud that this budget passed with unanimous support thanks to the continuous collaboration and dedication from City Council, showing what is possible when we work shoulder-to-shoulder to make a Denver [sic] a safe, affordable, and vibrant city for all," Johnston said in the statement. "Every budget is a moral document, and our 2024 budget reflects Denverites' values and priorities—from affordable housing to homelessness to downtown revitalization and public safety."
Among the "highlights" of the budget, per the mayor's office, are:
- $80 million towards the creation of home rental and homeownership opportunities
- $29.1 million in funding for rental and utility assistance
- $8.2 million for the hiring of more than 160 new police recruits and an improvement in 911 call response
- $6.2 million toward the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) mental health program
- $7 million for electric vehicles and charging stations
- $17 million for infrastructure and transit projects including bike lanes and Safe Routes to School.
Despite the unanimous vote in favor of the budget by the Denver City Council, members spoke before the vote on their belief that needs in the city will still be unmet.
Councilmember Paul Kashmann said the city will need to bring in more money in future years to address the many needs in front of it, including mental health care, drug addiction treatment and after-school programs.
“Denver’s budget, as we’ve all heard, is about 1.7 billion. If you throw in the airport and golf, and waste, water, we’re a little bit up over four [billion],” Kashmann said. “New York City’s 2024 budget was $107 billion. Different place, I understand, but just for context.”
This budget marks the first approved under Johnston, who took office this summer. The full budget can be found on the city's website.