In 2007, Denver’s citizens passed the ballot initiatives that established the Better Denver Bond Program, a comprehensive effort to invest in our infrastructure, and to enhance and construct city facilities that touch our lives.
Better Denver provided the funds to address critical maintenance issues as well as the growing impact of increased use and wear of facilities brought on by increasing population. These funds also enhanced our City’s quality of life and served as a stimulus by pumping millions of dollars into the local economy and helping to put people to work.
Historically, major maintenance of city assets was deferred for periods of up to ten years and was eventually funded with issuance of “catch up” bonds. However, the volume of projects in recent years pushed this deferred funding into a longer timeframe. The new facilities added to the maintenance burden, along with the impact of increased use and wear of facilities brought on by increasing population and the rising cost of maintenance construction.
Mayor John Hickenlooper formed an Infrastructure Task Force in 2004 to assess these issues, quantify the problem and make recommendations. The Task Force undertook a review of the condition of the City’s assets and developed a set of minimum standards for each criterion of need. The expectations of the citizens were also considered. The Task Force determined that the City had been under-funding capital maintenance by approximately $25 million annually.
In 2006, Mayor Hickenlooper formed the 115-member Infrastructure Priorities Task Force (IPTF) to develop an actionable response to the earlier 2004 conclusions. The IPTF examined capital facility and infrastructure needs and helped to establish priorities and time frames. In a process that lasted more than a year and with input from more than 1,500 residents, the IPTF developed the eight bond proposals that subsequently appeared on the November 2007 ballot as Issues B through I. Issue A, which was also on the ballot, dealt with mill level funding that is separate from the bond program.
The Program has been implemented with the following goals in mind: