Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration wants voters to approve $450 million in bonds to pay for numerous projects throughout the city. That amount is spread out over five questions on your ballot.
This is the measure specifically ask to approve borrowing money to pay for buying and developing shelter facilities for people experiencing homelessness. It asks to borrow $38.6 million.
Here’s the language you’ll see on the ballot:
Shall the City and County of Denver debt be increased $38,600,000, with a maximum repayment cost of $66,476,000, with no expected increase in the city’s current rate of taxation for general obligation debt service based on the city’s projected assessed value, the proceeds thereof to be used for repairs and improvements to the Denver housing and sheltering system, which may include but are not limited to:
- Establishing and/or improving shelters and facilities to provide services to people experiencing homelessness by purchasing buildings, converting buildings and/or constructing facilities;
By the issuance and payment of general obligation bonds, notes, loan agreements or other multiple fiscal year financial obligations, which shall be issued or incurred in such manner and containing such terms not inconsistent herewith as the city may determine (the expenditure of the proceeds thereof to be publicly reported by the city on an annual basis); and shall city ad valorem property taxes be increased without limitation as to rate but by not more than a maximum amount of $8,945,000 annually in amounts sufficient to pay the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on such financial obligations or to create a reserve for same; and shall the city be authorized to issue financial obligations to refund or refinance such financial obligations authorized in this question, provided that such refunding financial obligations when combined with other outstanding financial obligations authorized in this question do not exceed the maximum principal limits or repayment costs authorized by this question?
How would it work?
You are voting on whether to let the city issue general obligation bonds to pay for various city facility projects. So by voting yes on Referred Question 2B, you are allowing the city to borrow this money to pay for the purchase of the 48th Avenue Shelter, which the city signed a lease for last year, but with an option to purchase that it now wants to take advantage of. It will serve up to 600 men and provided 24/7 services.
The bond money would provide between 200 to 300 rooms for non-congregate shelters throughout the city, which gives people more privacy since it means getting an individual room. These types of shelters sprung up last year during the pandemic and were helpful in helping people stay isolated or in quarantine due to COVID-19. The city plans on using the borrowed money to buy, redevelop or build new buildings for people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity to live in non-congregate settings, such as hotels or motels.
These bonds don’t come with a tax increase; however, it’s possible that at some points in the future, the city may increase taxes to help pay these bonds back. The bond amounts include money to pay for the project, as well as what’s called a contingency; so basically, extra money providing a cushion in case the initial projected amount isn’t enough.
Who’s for it and who’s against it?
Well, Hancock and the city’s Chief Financial Officer, Brendan Hanlon, are pushing this bond package as part of the city’s overall recovery from the pandemic. The city believes these projects will help create jobs and bring more money to the city by improving and maintaining these spaces.
Political committee RISE Denver supports this and all other bond measures. Denver Elections records show no current organized opposition group or campaign for this portion of the bond request.