FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
Mayor Hickenlooper Delivers FY 2006 Budget Proposal to City Council
Balanced Budget Reflects City Priority on Public Safety; Demands Continued Efficiencies and Savings While Restoring Select Services to Previous Levels
(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper delivered his FY 2006 proposed budget to Denver City Council on Thursday, a balanced budget plan that continues to demand new efficiencies while restoring select services to previous levels.
“For two years we have successfully balanced the budget during an unprecedented recession. Over those years, front line employees to top management have worked tirelessly to reduce costs while maintaining basic services. Their sacrifices, innovations, and hard work have made this possible,” Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to City Council and Denver residents that accompanied the budget draft. “For 2006 we are cautiously optimistic that the City will experience modest economic growth. Recent voter approval of FasTracks – the largest mass transit project in the country – and reauthorization of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District demonstrate our citizens’ desires to build a bright future for Denver and the region. This proposed budget continues our efforts to find efficiencies, enabling us to restore select services to previous levels, particularly the hiring of new police to increase the number of officers on our streets.”
For FY 2006, the administration has proposed a $773 million budget, representing a 3.8 percent increase from the previous year. The FY 2006 budget is based on a conservative projection of 2.8 percent sales tax growth next year, an estimated return to FY 2001 sales tax revenue levels. While the hard work and sacrifices of 2004 and 2005 will enable us to use $11.7 million from the reserves of the General Fund for one-time costs (primarily infrastructure investments in public safety and technology), the 2006 ending General Fund reserve is still projected to be $88.8 million or 11.5 % of proposed expenditures, well above the 10 percent reserve fund balance critical to maintaining the City’s bond rating and an increase from the early 2003 reserve level of 10.4%.
The 2006 budget has been guided by feedback from the community and City Council and is organized around the City’s five goals:
• To make Denver an even better place to live
• To create 25,000 net, new private sector jobs by 2007
• To enhance customer service
• 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:
• Hire and train at least 135 new police officers in 2006, many of whom will replace officers who are retiring. Nevertheless, between October 2005 and December 2006, we will add almost 100 new officers to the streets. Authorized strength will increase to 1425.
• Enhance the safety department’s technological infrastructure and expand alternatives to sentencing and diversionary programs
• Implement the City’s new 3-1-1 customer service call center
• Restore Denver Central Library’s seven-day schedule, add a day to the Hadley and Montbello branches, and provide funding to open the reconstructed Westwood Library
• Implement the first year of the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, pending City Council approval of using currently existing non-General Fund revenues
• Leverage private investments in transit-oriented development opportunities around FasTracks and complete the Strategic Transportation Plan, a critical element of implementing Blueprint Denver
• Purchase two new aerial ladder platform trucks for the Fire Department
• Extend the outdoor swimming pool season, implement new Parks and Recreation programs, and improve park restrooms, playgrounds, and bike trails
• Implement single-stream recycling program citywide by purchasing new recycling bins and pave 120 unimproved alleys in second year of 10-year citywide program
• Finance the City’s new pay-for-performance compensation system, including tiered merit increases and incentive bonuses – as well as safety department salary increases resulting from collective bargaining agreements
The Mayor and City Council will hold departmental budget briefings beginning in late September. Based on input during this review period, the Mayor will submit a recommended budget by October 17 to be followed by a public hearing on October 24 and additional City Council input. City Council must enact an ordinance making appropriations for 2006 by November 28.
A complete copy of the proposed 2006 budget is available at www.denvergov.org/budget.
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