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About City Council

City Council makes laws, budgets City money, and can investigate City agencies and employees. Since 1971, the Council has had 13 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 598,000 people live in the City and County of Denver in an area of 154.97 square miles.

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

  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) 

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

Get Involved

There are many ways to find out about issues in your community and to get involved. Learn more about how to reach your city council member, find out about council meetings and public hearings, and participate in the legislative process.  

City Council meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. If you would like to speak at a scheduled public hearing, you must sign up during the recess of Council. Recesses vary from week to week, so we suggest you be present at the start of the meeting to ensure your opportunity to sign up. If you do not sign up during the recess of Council, you will not be given the opportunity to speak.

You can read the Rules of Procedure and our section on 'How laws Are Made' to get you started. To find out more about upcoming City Council meetings, visit our Meeting Calendar page.

The following maps represent districts as drawn in 2002. These districts will remain in effect until the 2015 City Council elections. You can also view interactive versions of our district maps.