CONTACT: Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
email@example.comHickenlooper Administration Delivers FY 2005 Budget Proposal to City CouncilBalanced Budget Demonstrates Progress of Past Year; Protects Vital Services and Restores Some Employee Sacrifices
The Hickenlooper administration delivered its FY 2005 proposed budget to Denver City Council on Wednesday, a balanced budget plan that reflects the priority services of Denver taxpayers while easing some of the sacrifices faced by city employees in recent years.
“This budget is fiscally sound and reflects a commitment to the goals we have set for the City,” Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to City Council and Denver residents that accompanied the budget draft. “It provides a stable foundation from which we can deliver services at the level we can afford and build for the future. I want to thank our managers and the city workforce for their continued commitment to create efficiencies and find ways to deliver quality services with less money.”
For FY 2005, the Hickenlooper administration has proposed a $748 million budget, which is based on a modest projection of 2.9 percent sales tax growth in FY 2005. The FY 2005 budget represents a 3.75 percent increase from the previous year, which is the same expenditure level as in 2002. More accurate revenue forecasting, slightly increased revenues, and the cost-saving efforts of city departments and employees meant that balancing the FY 2005 budget required $15 million dollars in reductions, compared to the $35 million that was originally projected. While the hard work and sacrifice of 2004 will enable a transfer of $10 million from reserves to the General Fund, the FY 2005 budget proposal still maintains the 10 percent reserve fund balance critical to maintaining the City’s bond rating.
The City’s FY 2004 budget was based on a conservative projection of 1.1 percent sales tax growth this year. Slightly better-than-projected revenue growth has increased the City’s 2004 projected revenues by $10 million. With these additional FY 2004 funds, the administration will ask City Council this year to (1) eliminate the last of the five furlough days originally planned for 2004, bringing the total number of furlough days eliminated to three, (2) restore the sick leave payout that Denver firefighters offered as a concession to help the City through the tough budgetary times, and (3) fund equipment and projects that are essential to the 2005 work program.
The 2005 budget has been guided by public feedback from the seven Denver Listens sessions hosted in March and is organized around the City’s five goals:
- To enhance customer service
- To create 25,000 net, new private sector jobs
- To make Denver an even better place to live than it was in 2003
- To make Denver city government an even better place to work than it was in 2003, and
- To live within our means
Some highlights include funds to:
- Increase Police Department staffing levels; continue critical incident training; improve the department’s technological infrastructure, and fund enhanced civilian oversight mechanisms.
- Increase the City’s investment in its 9-1-1 emergency response system
- Purchase two new aerial ladder platform trucks for the Fire Department
- Expand alley-paving, street resurfacing, and trash collection routes
- Extend the outdoor swimming pool season and outdoor recreation programs
- Maintain over 400 acres of new park space already on-line or coming on-line in the next year
Conduct initiatives necessary to implement BluePrint Denver
- Prevent any library branches from closing
- Eliminate furlough days for city employees and provide salary increases
- Restore the Fire and Sheriff’s collective bargaining pay and benefits they voluntarily conceded in 2004
- Create one-stop small business center to support economic development
- Create a 3-1-1 customer service call center
The complete copy of the proposed 2005 budget – including a more detailed executive summary and itemized description of the $15 million in cost reductions – is available at www.denvergov.org/budget
Public hearings on the budget proposal will begin in late September. Based on the input from the hearings, the Mayor will submit a recommended budget by October 18 to be followed by an additional public hearing and City Council input. City Council must enact an ordinance making appropriations for 2005 by November 22.
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