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Denver City Council approves mayor's $1.49 billion budget

Downtown Denver
Posted at 9:28 PM, Nov 08, 2021

DENVER — Denver City Council has approved Mayor Michael Hancock’s $1.49 billion budget.

Council voted 11-1 to approve the budget Monday, with councilmember Candi CdeBaca being the lone no vote.

“As our recovery from the public health and economic crisis caused by the global pandemic moves forward, these investments will not only restore services that were scaled back due to COVID, they will help our residents economically, support our neighborhoods and advance an economy that works for everyone,” Hancock said in a statement.

When Hancock presented the 2022 budget on Sept. 15, he said it “reflects the needs and aspirations of our residents.”

Hancock’s plan includes:

His plan includes:

  • $1.4 million to create a new Investment Impact Fund to support vulnerable communities as the city makes investments in public infrastructure
  • $5 million from the Climate Protection Fund to increase access to cooling and green space, improve infrastructure and reduce vulnerability to flooding, specifically to benefit disproportionately impacted communities
  • $11.5 million from the Climate Protection Fund to support projects such as solar carports and subsidized community solar subscriptions for low-income households, while also providing solar power to the public-serving facilities where they are located

Other highlights include:

  • $31.9 million in projected revenues for Denver’s dedicated Affordable Housing Fund
  • $1.7 million to support a new Affordable Housing Development Team to prioritize these projects for permit review and approval
  • $40.9 million from the Homelessness Resolution Fund for housing supports and services, shelter and services and catalytic developments that support the acquisition and development of housing and shelter at sites that combine multiple uses and also includes $15 million from the Homelessness Resolution Fund to create an additional 180 units of supportive housing paired with services and help 585 households regain stable housing
  • $3.9 million to support 370 units of supportive housing: 125 new units that are part of a new federal Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act grant program and 245 existing units from the city’s highly successful Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond program, which are now part of HOST’s ongoing performance contracts
  • More than $200 million in capital infrastructure funding for transportation and mobility, parks and recreation and city facilities
  • Nearly $25 million to support the scale up of our workforce development, youth apprenticeships and construction career programs and begin to bolster a climate action workforce
  • $5.7 million in marijuana tax revenue to establish a new business development program and to level the playing field by prioritizing small and minority- and women-owned businesses throughout the economy, as well as those looking to break into the marijuana industry

Council also voted to approve the mayor’s proposal to allocate $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Hancock’s plan for that funding includes:

  1. $50 million for housing stability and homelessness resolution:
  • $28 million to nearly double the Affordable Housing Fund
  • $7.7 million for life/safety improvements at recreation centers to allow them to serve as emergency shelters when demand is high and to support 24-hour shelter resiliency renovations
  • $4.3 million for alternatives to shelter, such as safe outdoor spaces and tiny home villages
  • $2 million for rehousing programs
  • $1.5 million for housing stability programs
  1. $13 million for community recovery investments:
  • $2 million in neighborhood activation grants
  • $1.8 million for youth and out of school time
  • $1.5 million in community safety grants
  • $1.4 million for childcare
  • $1.2 million to support arts and cultural institutions
  • $1.1 million for digital equity
  • $1 million for emergency food access
  • $250,000 for a nonprofit loan fund
  • $35,000 for financial equity study
  1. $10 million for business recovery investments:
  • $5 million for Business Impact Opportunity Grants
  • $2.5 million to support recovery in downtown Denver
  • $2 million to support entrepreneurship
  • $600,000 for small business outreach/technical assistance

“I am proud as council president, to have started the council budget process with a draft budget that already included over $175 million in investments that directly reflected the City Council priorities created from Denver’s collective voices and needs,” Council President Stacie Gilmore said. “The 2022 final budget will deliver essential supports and services as well as opportunities for Denverites during this time of recovery in our city.”

The proposed 2022 budget reflects a total of $4 billion for all funds, which is a 14% increase over the 2021 budget, according to the proposal. The mayor’s budget increases the General Fund reserve over the 2021 level to 14.2% of projected expenditures, or $213 million.