Separate City Council approval will allocate more General Fund dollars to STAR program and community outreach
DENVER – Denver City Council on Monday, July 19 approved two measures to support Denver’s economic recovery and safety. The first action authorizes Denver’s first allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and the second action authorizes moving funds from the city’s General Fund contingency to expand the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program and to support collaborative, community-based approaches to addressing violent crime in specific areas of the city.
The city will use $46.2 million in federal ARPA funds to restore some of the budgets reduced to keep the city’s budget balanced in light of decreased revenues expected in 2021 due to the pandemic. The majority of the $46.2 million allocation, $26.3 million will support filling nearly 240 of the approximately 400 positions held vacant in city agencies; $17.3 million will be used to eliminate all 2021 citywide furlough days; and $2.6 million will go towards other services needed to support the community and the city’s recovery.
“Denver’s recovery is underway and it’s our responsibility to ensure it is equitable, sustainable and that every community can regain stability” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “This funding will support our work to reopen recreation centers and libraries, maintain parks, conduct public health inspections, license and inspect businesses, respond to emergencies, address court backlogs, and support and engage our residents. I thank City Council for their support in ensuring Denver is ready to respond to our residents’ recovery.”
The City and County of Denver will receive a total of $308 million in ARPA funds in two installments. The U.S. Treasury Department delivered the first half of ARPA funds, $154 million, in early July. The city will receive a second installment in 2022.
Community Safety Funding:
The second action allocates $1.3 million from the city’s General Fund contingency dollars to support an increase to the STAR program and to engage with and support Denver communities in five areas experiencing higher rates of violent crime.
The city intends to use $300k in contingency funds for a collaborative, community-based approach to addressing violent crime. The Office of Human Rights and Community Partnerships will lead a multi-agency effort to engage with residents in the communities impacted by concentrated violent crime to determine the best approach for their neighborhoods, support special events and activities and provide mini-grants for non-profit and local leaders to further engage residents in this safety effort.
The STAR Program will receive another $1 million to expand to six teams operating across the city 7 days a week. This brings the city's total investment in STAR to $2.4 million for 2021. The City has also requested $1.4 million in Caring for Denver funds to bring the total investment to $3.8 million. The STAR Program deploys Emergency Response Teams that include Emergency Medical Technicians and Behavioral Health Clinicians to engage individuals experiencing crises related to mental health issues, poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse.