I/DD Mill Levy/IDDEAS Program

Denver's IDDEAS (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Equitable Access to Services) program funds various assistance programs for Denver residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Our IDDEAS program, formerly referred to as the I/DD Mill Levy program, is responsible for oversight of these essential services for over 4,700 individuals and their families and caregivers in Denver.

 

What You Need To Know

Denver's I/DD mill levy has provided individualized assistance for, among other things, adaptive technology, therapies, clothing, mattresses, home accessibility upgrades, and furniture.

In addition to the direct support that individualized assistance provides, the mill levy has also funded services focused on connecting residents with I/DD to opportunities, resources, trainings, and community experiences.

What is the I/DD Mill Levy, and how can the revenues it raises be spent?

In 2003, nearly 70 percent of Denver voters approved a dedicated one mill property tax levy to fund services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One mill equates to a tax of one dollar per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. Revenue from the levy was required to fund services and supports for people with I/DD through the Community Centered Board.

In 2017, in addition to contracting with the Community Centered Board, City Council approved expanding the allowable uses of revenue from the mill levy to include contracting with other providers for services for residents with I/DD, transferring funds to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to reduce the Medicaid waiver waiting list for Denver residents, and using 0.75 percent of the revenue to cover some of the city’s administrative costs.

In 2018, revenue from the dedicated mill levy was projected to be about $17.5 million.

What are the needs in Denver today, and how will the I/DD Mill Levy better serve residents going forward?

In 2018, we released the findings of a first-of-its-kind assessment to identify gaps in services for Denver residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The four-month effort gathered more than 500 responses from people living with I/DD, their families, service providers and advocates via interviews, surveys, focus groups, social media, phone calls, and public meetings.

After decades of funding for services for people with I/DD going directly to one Community Centered Board, Denver is now able to direct funding to other providers in the community. To support this effort, for the first time in Denver and one of the only times in Colorado, the city went directly to the community for input about which services are most needed.

The complete needs assessment and a two-page summary are available:

We are already taking steps to respond to feedback gathered from our community through the needs assessment. In December 2018, a new Mill Levy Advisory Council was seated; this council is made up of Denver residents with connections to the I/DD community. The council makes recommendations for areas of focus for the mill levy funds that are currently uncommitted. 

How do I know if I qualify to access programs funded by the Denver I/DD mill levy?

The best way to verify your eligibility is to speak directly with the mill levy program you are interested in accessing.

All of Denver’s mill-levy-funded programs have a residency and I/DD eligibility requirement. You must be a current Denver resident and have a documented intellectual or developmental disability, or developmental delay if under age 5. You may also request mill levy funding if you suspect you may have an intellectual or developmental disability or delay and need assistance for testing. 

How can I confirm my residency?

An individual is a Denver resident if he or she lives within the boundaries of the City and County of Denver. Your mailing address alone does not indicate whether you are a Denver resident. For example, you may be a Denver resident and have a Littleton address, or you may have a Denver address and be a resident of unincorporated Arapahoe County.

To determine whether you are a current Denver resident, use the online property record search on the Denver assessor’s website. If the Denver assessor has a record of the property where you live, you are eligible for mill levy funding. There are some exceptions to this definition; if your property record is not found, you may visit the Denver City Council districts map to see whether you fall into a Denver City Council district.

If you are unable to confirm your residency and believe you are a Denver resident, please contact the mill-levy-funded program you wish to access for further assistance.

 

What organizations does DHS contract with to provide services through the mill levy?

Currently, DHS contracts with Rocky Mountain Human Services for a variety of programs that provide supports and create opportunities for residents in Denver with an intellectual or developmental disability or delay. This includes over two dozen community partner initiatives. DHS anticipates future contracts with other organizations to diversify program offerings and elevate services in our community.    

Why are there unspent funds?

Historically, Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) was the sole mill-levy-funded organization, based on a voter-approved ballot initiative passed in 2003. In 2016 and 2017, DHS’s contract with RMHS yielded leftover funds which remained unspent during each contract term. This happened because of great change for the Denver mill levy program, during which a new ordinance passed in January 2017 that opened up contracting with other organizations to provide I/DD services. DHS and RMHS worked together to clarify eligibility and transform the RMHS mill levy programs. Currently, mill levy expenditures are paid on a reimbursement basis. 

What are those funds doing now?

Unspent funds from prior years are still earmarked to serve residents of Denver with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. DHS’s Mill Levy Advisory Council, seated in December 2018, meets regularly to learn about opportunities and gaps in current services. Members are charged with making recommendations to DHS on needs and priorities for I/DD programs.    

Is there a complaint or appeals process for funding decisions?

DHS mill levy funded programs are required to have a grievance or review process for funding decisions. RMHS’s complaint process can be found here.

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Equitable Access to Services (IDDEA) program manager oversees all mill levy contractors and can be contacted with questions or concerns related to services delivered through DHS mill levy contracts. Community members can also make public comment at DHS Mill Levy Advisory Council meetings to weigh in on the priorities that guide the contracting process for this program. To contact DHS directly, email Crystal Porter at crystal.porter@denvergov.org.