With the passage of the Better Denver program on the city-wide ballot in 2007, the City is implementing an exciting program that will improve the lives of Denver’s citizens for decades.
The population in Denver has been growing, and more people are using city facilities more frequently. We have added many facilities, such as the airport, convention center, new museums, and sports arenas, and still have to care for streets, parks, fire and police sites, clinics, day care centers, libraries, recreation centers, and more.
Until the passage of the Bond Program, our resources were stretched too thin to adequately care for these facilities. It’s estimated that Denver should spend around $25 million more every year to maintain these amenities. Without a dedicated source of funding, it was difficult for the City to find this money on an annual basis. Now, an ongoing stream of revenue is available. These revenues are derived from the Denver voters’ passage of Issues B through I that established bond financing to meet these needs. Issues B through I identified the general project areas that comprise the Better Denver Bond Program.
Historically, major maintenance of city assets was deferred for periods of up to ten years, and was eventually funded with issuance of “catch up” bonds. However, the volume of projects in recent years pushed this deferred funding into a longer timeframe. The new facilities added to the maintenance burden, along with the impact of increased use and wear of facilities brought on by increasing population and rising cost of maintenance construction.
Mayor John Hickenlooper formed an Infrastructure Task Force in 2004 to assess these issues, quantify the problem and make recommendations. The Task Force undertook a review of the condition of the City’s assets and developed a set of minimum standards for each criteria of need. The expectations of the citizens were also considered. The Task Force determined that the City had been under-funding capital maintenance by approximately $25 million annually.
In 2006, Mayor Hickenlooper formed the 115-member Infrastructure Priorities Task Force (IPTF) to develop an actionable response to the earlier 2004 conclusions. The IPTF examined capital facility and infrastructure needs and helped to establish priorities and time frames. In a process that lasted more than a year and with input from more than 1,500 residents, the IPTF developed the eight bond proposals that subsequently appeared on the November 2007 ballot as Issues B through I. Issue A, which was also on the ballot, dealt with mill level funding that is separate from the bond program.
The Program has been implemented with the following goals in mind:
Mayor announces goal to speed delivery of Bond projects to stimulate area economy
“Accelerating our infrastructure projects means that the City of Denver will pump up to $200 million per year into the Denver economy over the next three years, stimulating spending at every level of our regional economy and helping keep people employed,” Mayor Hickenlooper said.