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Mayor Hancock Submits 2018 Budget Proposal to City Council

Spending focuses on highest priorities, including affordability, mobility and behavioral health

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock submitted his 2018 budget proposal to City Council today, a $1.39 billion spending plan that addresses many of the city’s highest priorities, including mobility, affordable housing and the critical needs of Denver’s most vulnerable populations, including those experiencing homelessness and behavioral health challenges.

“A city’s budget should reflect the priorities and values of its people,” Mayor Hancock said, “and my 2018 spending proposal does just that. This spending plan will improve transportation, connect more residents to economic opportunities, help make Denver more affordable for families, assist those in need, and strengthen our neighborhoods. This is a responsible, balanced, and thoughtful budget proposal that calls for significant investments in our most important needs.”

“This budget will allow us to maintain healthy reserves and a strong credit rating while meeting the needs of a growing, diverse city and delivering the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost,” said Chief Financial Officer Brendan Hanlon.

One new element in the proposal is a $1 million allocation in the Capital Improvement Program for direct community budgeting. Under this new concept, residents will be able to more directly guide decisions about expenditures for improvement projects.

The Mayor’s $1.39 billion General Fund budget proposal includes additional funding for:

Mobility & Transportation

  • An additional $31.5 million to begin implementing the city’s new Mobility Action Plan to move more people, more efficiently and more safely, including investments for:
    • 10 miles of bike lanes, three miles of neighborhood bikeways and two miles of protected bike lanes
    • Implementation of the new Vision Zero Action Plan, with a goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030, including expanded photo  enforcement, increased roadside electronic message boards and other safety signage
    • Reconstruction of eight dangerous intersections to improve safety
    • Continuation of the Safe Routes to School program
    • A new $4.5 million sidewalk repair program, including a revolving fund to help residential property owners afford sidewalk repairs
    • $5 million from marijuana revenue for deferred capital maintenance.

Affordability

  • $21.6 million for affordable housing, including $15 million in local funds and $6 million in anticipated federal funds;
  • $500,000 for a new affordability assistance fund to help residents with one-time support for essential housing, utility and food expenses;
  • $450,000 to expand the reach and capacity of the city’s Financial Empowerment Centers;
  • $500,000 to expand the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Rebate program;
  • $345,000 for MY Denver PRIME, a new program to expand discounted recreation-center access for all residents 60 and older;
  • $21,000 for 170 additional wi-fi Internet pucks available for free check-out at Denver libraries to help low-income families access the Internet.

Homelessness & Other Safety Net

  • $3.7 million to enhance emergency homeless services and facilities, including rapid re-housing, shelter diversion and street outreach efforts;
  • $670,000 to add 100 more permanent supportive housing units to the existing 250 apartments financed through the city’s innovative social impact bond program;
  • $450,000 to expand the Denver Day Works jobs program for people experiencing homelessness;
  • $616,000 to enhance child protection and child welfare.

Behavioral Health

  • $1.1 million to expand the successful “co-responder” program that pairs mental health professionals with police officers, and $166,000 for additional social worker positions in the Library;
  • $500,000 for a new grant program to support agencies addressing a worsening opioid epidemic;
  • $90,000 to extend the Opioid Resource Coordinator position in the Department of Environmental Health;
  • $500,000 for expanded methadone and Medication-Assisted Treatment in the county jails.

Public Safety

  • $1.8 million for 22 uniformed police officers to keep pace with population growth, and additional crime report technicians to free up officers for proactive policing;
  • $93,500 to expand the successful ShotSpotter program to help solve crimes faster
  • $2.3 million for 32 sheriff deputies to staff the new Building 24 women’s facility and other divisions;
  • $350,000 for 10 additional employees in the 911 emergency call center;
  • $387,000 to improve the emergency operations center and emergency public information.

Neighborhood Parks, Recreation Centers & Libraries

  • $69,000 to extend hours at recreation centers on Saturdays and during holidays when kids are not in school;
  • $896,000 to create a new downtown parks maintenance team;
  • $197,000 to add additional park rangers to keep our parks safe and secure for everyone;
  • $4 million from marijuana revenue to fix aging parks and recreation centers citywide;
  • $267,000 to expand hours at the Hampden and Hadley library branches;
  • $366,000 to increase security and cleaning services at the Downtown Central Library.

Sustainability

  • $3.6 million for expanded trash and recycling services – including recycling services in city parks -- to help Denver achieve its 2020 trash-diversion goals;
  • $108,000 to support the building efficiency ordinance and help Denver achieve its goals of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and obtaining 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources;
  • $250,000 to continue adding electric vehicles to the city fleet and install 16 additional electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city.

Business Development

  • $21,000 to support minority- and women-owned businesses by updating the city’s regular analysis of companies awarded city contracts;
  • $350,000 to provide strategic investments in low-income neighborhoods and build capacity among minority- and women-owned businesses;
  • $500,000 to promote business development in the area surrounding the airport in collaboration with Adams County;
  • $600,000 to enhance the small- and international-business development teams
  • $200,000 for a new revolving loan fund to help new Business Improvement Districts or General Improvement Districts form.

Customer Service

  • $354,000 for six additional employees in the 311 information call center;
  • $2.9 million to enhance e-permitting and increase plan review, permitting and inspections staffs to ensure faster delivery of services;
  • $99,000 for a second mobile elections van to bring the voting process directly to the people.

The budget calls for holding 15.2 percent of expenditures in reserves, as well as $34.4 million in contingency for emergencies.

City Council committees will begin budget hearings later this month, with final adoption in November. The Mayor’s 2018 budget proposal can be found here.