About Denver City Council

 

City Council makes laws, budgets City money, and can investigate City agencies and employees. Since 1971, the Council has had 13 council members -- 11 from equally populated districts and two elected at large. Council members, who must be at least 25 years old, U.S. citizens, and two-year Denver residents, are all elected at the same time every four years. Council committees, each concerned with various areas of city government, meet frequently to discuss and prepare proposed laws.

History of Denver's Mayor-Council Government

Settled in 1858, Denver became a town in Kansas Territory in 1860 -- named after the governor who never saw the place. It became part of the Colorado Territory in 1861 with a board of aldermen stronger than the mayor. The State of Colorado made Denver its capital in 1877. Denver became a City and County in 1902 and adopted a new Charter with a mayor-council government in 1904.

The Charter is "the Constitution" of Denver. A commission form of government, instituted in 1913, lasted only three years. The Speer Amendment, named after a Denver mayor, created the present non-partisan city government with a strong mayor and a city council.

Today, more than 704,000 people live in the City and County of Denver in an area of 154.97 square miles.

Denver City Council Land Acknowledgement

The Denver City Council honors and acknowledges that the land on which we reside is the traditional territory of the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Peoples. We also recognize the 48 contemporary tribal nations that are historically tied to the lands that make up the state of Colorado.

We honor Elders past, present, and future, and those who have stewarded this land throughout generations. We also recognize that government, academic and cultural institutions were founded upon and continue to enact exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples.

May this acknowledgement demonstrate a commitment to working to dismantle ongoing legacies of oppression and inequities and recognize the current and future contributions of Indigenous communities in Denver.

 

 Frequently Asked Questions

 

Who is my council member?

To locate which council district you live in and which council member represents you, enter your address into the Denver City Council interactive map.  You may also call the City Council main office at (720) 337-2000 to find out who is your City Council representative.

 

When and where does council meet?

Council meets in the Council Chambers, Room 450 of the City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street (except when there is an emergency that requires the Council to meet in a different location or virtually). 

The regular meetings of the full Council normally begin at 5:30 p.m. on Monday evenings. Typically, if Monday is a holiday, then the meetings are on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. See our meeting calendar for more information.

The Council committees usually meet on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings. Learn more about the committees

You can watch the Council meetings on Denver 8 if you have Comcast cable television. You can also watch live and archived video online.

 

What are the qulifications for members of City Council? Must I have a college degree to run for Council?

The City Charter has no requirements for formal education or experience. The requirements in the Charter are stated in 3.1.3 of the Charter as follows:

"Each councilman shall be a citizen of the United States; a resident of the City and County of Denver for the two (2) years immediately preceding his election; a qualified elector of the City and County of Denver; over twenty-five (25) years of age and if elected from a council district, the second year of residency shall have been within the district."

In addition, the Charter imposes certain restrictions as follows:

B3.1.4 Qualifications and Restrictions. No member shall hold any other public elective office or any other employment with the City and County of Denver. No member shall have any direct interest in any contract with the City; nor shall any member have any interest arising by contract or other relationship which creates a substantial conflict of interest with respect to that member's Council duties which cannot be avoided by abstention or by disqualification from participation in a transaction or series of transactions without adversely affecting the interests of the city...

B3.1.5 No person who has been convicted of willful evasion of City or State taxes; or who has been convicted of malfeasance in office, bribery or other corrupt practices, shall be qualified for membership in the council.

 

How does a person run for City Council?

The procedures for running for City offices are stated in Chapter C of the Charter, which you can view on our website via the Denver Revised Municipal Code.

You should read the entire Charter election section and should talk to the staff of the Elections Division about how to run. There are many complex rules governing the conduct of campaigns, and this portion of the Council’s web page cannot address them all. But the short version is that the formal process for running for office starts with the nomination of the candidate. The Charter describes the nomination process as follows:

"C1.5 Nomination--How made. The name of a candidate for district councilman shall be placed upon the ballot when a verified petition of not less than one hundred (100) signatures of registered electors, who reside in the district in which the candidate resides, shall have been filed in his behalf at least forty-five (45) days before the day of election in the manner and form and under the conditions established by the election commission, unless otherwise provided by ordinance in pursuance of this charter. The name of a candidate for mayor or auditor or councilman-at-large or election commissioner shall be placed upon the ballot when a verified petition of not less than three hundred (300) signatures of registered electors shall have been filed in his behalf at least forty-five (45) days before the day of election in the manner and form and under the conditions established by the election commission, unless otherwise provided by ordinance in pursuance of this charter." 

 

What is the salary for members of City Council?

The current salary is $96,557 for 12 members and $108,126 for the Council President.

 

Is City Council a part-time or full-time job?

Council members are elected to represent their district or the city on a full-time basis.

 

Do council members have offices?

Yes, they each have one office. The office is either in a city owned building or the City pays the rent for the office. Seven council members have offices in the City & County Building while the remaining six have offices located in their districts. 

 

How much money do council members have to run their offices?

In 2020, each council member received $264,000 to operate his or her office, which provides for the salary of the staff and supplies for operating his/her office. 

 

Why doesn't the council vote on every bill on the agenda?

They do vote on every bill. Before the Council recess, the members tell the president which bills they want to call out for a vote. Only those bills are voted on individually. The other bills are passed in a block vote.

 

How is the council president elected?

The president and pro tem are elected by the members of council, not the voters. During the Council meeting on the third Monday of July, the Council elects new officers — a president and a pro tem. Both officers serve one year. In addition to presiding over the meetings, the president appoints committees and designates their functions. The pro tem fills in for the president when necessary. 

 

How do I sign up to speak at a public hearing?

Speakers may sign-up on personal devices at denvergov.org/CouncilPublicInput. Sign-ups must be completed by the end of the recess to be accepted. Speakers may also sign-up in person starting at 4:30 p.m. in Room 451. Those signing up in person are required to wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines. Although signing up in person, testimony will be given via Zoom on a iPad in Room 451.

For more information and to learn about other opportunities to address council, please visit the Public Input page

 

How are laws made?

Below is a very brief outline of the legislative process and how laws are enacted. To learn more, download our visual diagram(PDF, 74KB).

  1. Council Committee Meeting - Proposed legislation is discussed.
  2. Mayor Council Meeting (following Tues) - Bills to be filed each week are discussed.
  3. Council Meeting, First Reading (following Mon) - Bill is either ordered published or defeated
  4. Council Meeting, Second Reading
  5. Mayor signs or vetoes (Council can override veto with 9 votes)
  6. City Clerk publishes new ordinance by end of the week (ordinance takes effect upon publication) 

 

What are council's rules of procedure?

The Rules of Procedure(PDF, 296KB) govern the legislative process of the City Council, serving as a guide to fair and orderly procedure in meetings.

 

What is council's respectful workplace policy?