Mayor Hancock Submits 2022 Budget Proposal

Published on September 15, 2021

Mayor Michael B. Hancock today submitted his 2022 budget proposal to City Council. The $1.49 billion budget is an important component of the Hancock Administration’s long-term financial plan to build an even more sustainable and inclusive economy and leverages multiple financial tools to accelerate the recovery that is already underway.

“Working together with our community, our city is emerging from the worst public health and economic crisis in our lifetime. Our sound fiscal management over the years allowed us to leverage our city’s reserves to keep our city running and prevent an outright fiscal collapse brought on by COVID-19,” Mayor Hancock said. “This budget reflects the needs and aspirations of our residents, and I look forward to working with City Council and our residents as we move our city toward better years ahead.”

The Mayor’s 2022 budget proposal invests in initiatives that support access to stable housing, a good-paying job, a safe neighborhood, the opportunity to start or grow a business and be part of a vibrant and diverse business community, and furthers the Hancock Administration’s work to create equitable outcomes for all residents.

The 2022 budget, combined with investments from the city’s allocation of American Rescue Plan funds, supports our recovery by investing in our people through increased access to food and childcare and to address the digital divide. It invests in programs to support our non-profits, cultural programs and neighborhoods. The 2022 financial package leverages a variety of funds to double our affordable housing efforts, build on our successful social impact bond model and resolve homelessness for hundreds more of our unhoused neighbors. To keep Denver safe, the budget makes strategic, community-based public safety investments into improved policing and targeted crime prevention.

“This fiscally responsible budget will help sustain our recovery, support thousands of new jobs and job training programs, stimulate our economy, and put new programs into place to protect our vulnerable neighborhoods and residents,” the Mayor said.

Specific funding proposals include:

Sustaining our economic recovery

Infrastructure enhances our neighborhoods, preserves and creates needed community assets, stimulates economic activity and supports good-paying jobs for our workforce. While the pandemic further exposed the inequities in our economic systems, the 2022 budget will continue to level the playing field and create resiliency for our small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

To support a sustained economic recovery, the Mayor’s 2022 budget proposal investments will include: 

  • More than $200 million in capital infrastructure funding for transportation and mobility, parks and recreation, and city facilities.
    • $85 million for transportation and mobility projects, including a 1,000% increase in the city’s transit investment made possible by an additional $9.2 million in parking revenue generated by an increase to metered parking rates from $1 to $2 per hour, the first rate increase in 20 years;
    • $46 million in parks and recreation projects;
    • $42 million for improvements to city facilities, including $10 million for the Central Branch Library modernization project;
    • $3.4 million for Arts and Venues projects; and
    • $6 million to improve accessibility to city facilities for people living with disabilities
  • Nearly $25 million to support the scale up of our workforce development, youth apprenticeships and construction career programs, and begin to bolster a climate action workforce.
  • $5.7 million in marijuana tax revenue to establish a new business development program and to level the playing field by prioritizing small and minority- and women-owned businesses throughout the economy, as well as those looking to break into the marijuana industry.

To support these and other investments, the city will propose to dedicate $10 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), pending City Council approval, for business resiliency, including:

  • $5 million for Business Impact Opportunity Grants to small businesses.
  • $2.5 million to re-activate our downtown core.
  • $2 million to support entrepreneurship in Neighborhood Equity & Stabilization Team (NEST) neighborhoods.
  • $600,000 for small business navigators to make it easier for small businesses to take advantage of the opportunities they have within the city so they can recover from the pandemic and thrive.

As we have done with previous budgets, equity is considered with every investment. To support our community’s recovery, 2022 budget investments include:

  • $1.4 million to create a new Investment Impact Fund to support vulnerable communities as the city makes investments in public infrastructure.
  • $5 million from the Climate Protection Fund to increase access to cooling and green space, improve infrastructure, and reduce vulnerability to flooding, specifically to benefit disproportionately impacted communities.
  • $11.5 million from the Climate Protection Fund to support projects such as solar carports and subsidized community solar subscriptions for low-income households, while also providing solar power to the public-serving facilities where they are located.

The city also proposes to invest $11.8 million in ARPA funds, pending City Council approval, to support multiple aspects of community recovery, from mental health to digital equity and youth wellbeing, including:  

  • $2 million in neighborhood activation grants to NEST neighborhoods 
  • $1.4 million to support childcare for more working parents 
  • $1 million in grants to support increased fresh and health food access
  • $1.1 million to create a Digital Equity Plan and Program and fund Digital Navigators at the Denver Public Library 
  • $1.8 million to support youth wellbeing through out of school time teen programming
  • $1 million to conduct a Mental Health Needs Assessment Study and begin programming 

Housing stability and homelessness resolution

Mayor Hancock’s 2022 budget proposal continues his administration’s priority investments in affordable housing and homelessness resolution, including a $190 million investment to support more housing access programs like down-payment assistance and homeownership counseling, hundreds more hotel and motel rooms, more tiny home villages, and more safe outdoors spaces and safe parking spaces. Funding will also support housing vouchers, wrap-around services and programs to keep people from falling into homelessness in the first place, such as rental and utility assistance, eviction protection, and of course, creating new and preserving existing affordable homes.

Key affordable housing and homelessness resolution investments include:

  • $31.9 million in projected revenues for Denver’s dedicated Affordable Housing Fund.
  • $1.7 million to support a new Affordable Housing Development Team to prioritize these projects for permit review and approval.
  • $40.9 million from the Homelessness Resolution Fund for housing supports and services, shelter and services, and catalytic developments that support the acquisition and development of housing and shelter at sites that combine multiple uses and also includes $15 million from the Homelessness Resolution Fund to create an additional 180 units of supportive housing paired with services and help 585 households regain stable housing.
  • $3.9 million to support 370 units of supportive housing: 125 new units that are part of a new federal Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act grant program, and 245 existing units from the city’s highly successful Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond program which are now part of HOST’s ongoing performance contracts.

The city also proposes to invest, pending City Council approval, a $28 million infusion of ARPA funds to the Affordable Housing Fund and $20 million to support additional homelessness resolution services, including:

  • $7.4 million to make physical improvements to the city’s 48th Avenue Shelters to reduce barriers to traditional shelter  
  • $3.5 million for life/safety improvements in city-owned recreation centers to enable them to serve as emergency shelters 
  • $6.3 million to support alternatives to shelter such as Safe Outdoor Spaces, Safe Outdoor Parking and tiny home villages, as well as increase the number of rapid rehousing/rapid resolution services for people experiencing homelessness

Keeping people and neighborhoods safe

Keeping our residents, visitors and neighborhoods safe is one of our highest priorities. The Denver Police Department has embarked on a new collaborative crime-prevention initiative, bringing more patrols to hotspot areas and delivering more resources to help these communities address the underlying factors that can give root to crime. The Mayor’s 2022 budget invests $2.8 million in local and federal funds to continue this work. 

In the 2022 budget proposal, the city seizing the opportunity to hire new officers who can meet the challenges of policing in America today, and training them to better meet the needs of the communities they serve. The 2022 budget includes:

  • $13.6 million to hire new first responders at the Denver Police, Sheriff and Fire departments and 911 call-takers to restore our safety workforce after historic attrition.
  • $1.4 million for two Street Enforcement Teams of six people each for non-uniform public safety and code enforcement.
  • $1.5 million to keep downtown parks safe and maintained.
  • $351,000 to add another medical unit to serve the Federal Boulevard corridor and east of the central business district.
  • $665,000 to expand our work around youth violence prevention, including pop-up events, community micro-grants, and multi-sector collaboration between the city and community-based organizations. 

“With the increase in crime Denver and cities across the nation are experiencing, hiring new safety officers will bolster our efforts to prevent crime, address the root causes of those cries, and keep our residents and neighborhoods safe,” Mayor Hancock said.

While we are often unsung as a community, Denver, unlike many other cities, launched meaningful police and criminal justice reform years ago. This budget addresses continued efforts at innovative, community-based policing and alternative interventions that recognize the distinction between mental illness and criminal activity. 2022 budget investments include:

  • $3.8 million to continue the city-wide expansion of the Support Team Assisted Response Program (STAR).
  • $947,000 to create an Assessment Intake Diversion (AID) Center that will serve as an additional alternative response to the criminal justice system and help guide individuals with mental health or substance misuse challenges away from being booked into jail, and instead connect them to more appropriate services.
  • $1 million for a new Crisis Response Team to provide emergency mental health support in Denver’s jails.

After nearly two years of economic impacts from the pandemic, Denver’s revenues are beginning to recover, but they remain highly vulnerable due to continued uncertainty globally, nationally and locally. While Denver’s uptake in vaccinations is higher than in other areas of the state and country, the economy remains vulnerable, especially when considering the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19. Despite these areas of concern, the overall outlook for 2022 revenues reflects the city’s positive momentum toward economic recovery. The 2022 revenue forecast for the General Fund totals $1.48 billion, an increase of $97.5 million, or 7%, over the 2021 revised estimate. 

Our strong fiscal management was recognized in November 2020 by all three primary bond ratings agencies, which reaffirmed Denver’s AAA/Aaa/AAA bond rating with a stable outlook, the highest achievable bond rating for governments.

Mayor Hancock’s 2022 budget increases the General Fund reserve over the 2021 level to 14.2% of projected expenditures, or $213 million.

City Council committees will begin budget hearings next week, with final adoption in November. The Mayor’s 2022 budget proposal can be found at denvergov.org/budget.

Tagged as: