Mayor Hancock Announces 2013 Budget Proposal
DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today submitted a balanced 2013 budget proposal to the City Council that for the fifth consecutive year closes a significant budget shortfall, and for the first time provides a baseline accounting of spending for children, economic development and safety.

“Thanks to responsible fiscal management and thoughtful stewardship of taxpayer dollars, Denver has made the difficult but necessary decisions to balance our budget and maintain strong ratings in the bond and investment markets,” Mayor Hancock said.

“I approached the 2013 budget process with a focus on maintaining essential services, aligning resources with priorities and identifying savings that strengthen the city’s ability to deliver the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost,” the Mayor said. “We are reengineering how the city does business and demonstrating that Denver is a smart city – one of the best-run cities in America.”

Mayor Hancock’s proposal closes a $94 million shortfall through a combination of spending reductions, operational improvements, efficiency savings and use of city reserves. This will be the fifth year in a row the city has been forced to close recession-caused shortfalls, totaling $540 million from 2009 to 2013.

Click Here for the 2013 budget letter and full proposal.

Key elements of the Mayor’s $964 million General Fund plan:

  • Achieving $10 million in permanent efficiency savings through Peak Performance, including $2.3 million by civilianizing 65 uniformed positions in the police, fire and sheriff’s departments.
  • Saving $5 million by requiring city employees to take five unpaid furlough days, for a $1 million-per-furlough-day savings.
  • Reducing health insurance costs by $3.6 million by increasing employee contributions to the city’s HMO plans. Those employees who choose to use the deductible HMO plans will save $900 to $4,800 in their annual premiums.
  • Saving $2.25 million by increasing contributions to the retirement system by 1.5 percentage points; the city and employees will split the additional contribution levels.
  • Maintaining current hours and service levels at libraries, recreation centers and other facilities.
  • Increasing financial reserves from 10.7 percent of expenditures to 11.7 percent, helping to ensure the city maintains strong credit ratings in the bond and investment markets.

For the first time, the Mayor’s budget proposal provides a detailed, baseline accounting of spending in three priority categories of jobs, kids and safety. The city is not increasing funding in these areas but instead offering a better and more transparent strategy to track expenses and measure them against performance, outcomes and results based on specific goals and objectives.

  • Children & Youth The 2013 budget proposal calls for investing $52 million in children and youth services, including recreation, health and wellness, safety, early learning, library programs, and workforce and employment initiatives. The Mayor’s Office of Children’s Affairs, along with a Denver Children’s Cabinet and the Denver Education Compact, are leading the Mayor’s efforts to improve opportunities for Denver’s young people.
  • Job Growth & Economic Development The budget proposes $305 million for business development to retain, expand and attract companies, develop a world-class employment base, and maintain Denver’s competitiveness in the global economy. Strategies include: providing a new “Peak Enterprise” toolkit to help startups get off the ground and attract new venture capital to Denver; building a new hotel and commuter rail station at Denver International Airport and securing new international flights; and fostering innovators, entrepreneurs and arts-and-cultural enterprises that create jobs.
  • Public Safety & the Safety Net – The budget calls for $698 million in public safety and safety net investments to protect residents, businesses and neighborhoods, while also ensuring those most in need are not forgotten or left behind. This includes funding for police and fire protection, jails and courts, and vulnerable populations such as the homeless and those with mental illnesses.

“This budget is lean and smart,” Mayor Hancock said. “It again demonstrates my commitment to strong and responsible fiscal management. However, while my 2013 budget proposal is balanced, it does not reflect the great city I know Denver can be. We continue to utilize short-term steps such as furloughs to plug holes in the budget. These are not long-term, sustainable solutions.

“For this reason, I am asking voters in November for permission to retain revenue currently being returned to taxpayers because it exceeds TABOR-mandated limits,” the Mayor said. “If approved, this proposal – in conjunction with our efforts to operate the city more cost-effectively – would eliminate Denver’s budget deficit, allow us to recover more quickly from the recession and enable us to catch back up on essential services lost over the past four years.

“We will continue to evaluate and re-evaluate all aspects of city government, and we will continue to use the budget as a guidepost as we establish Denver as a smart, world-class city where everyone matters.”

City Council committees will begin budget hearings later this month, with final adoption in November. Click Here for the City Council calendar.

Posted on Sep 12, 2012 (Archive on Oct 12, 2012)
Posted by kpellegrin  Contributed by kpellegrin