Denver’s got a spending plan for 2022.
City Council passed a $1.49 billion budget proposed by Mayor Michael Hancock that he believes will help create more jobs by using both local money and federal coronavirus aid. The budget will complement the $260 million in municipal bonds voters approved last week.
The council voted 11-1 to pass the spending plan. Councilmember Candi CdeBaca voted against it. Council members did not discuss the plan before casting their vote.
The budget City Council passed was essentially a replica of the one Hancock unveiled on Sept. 15. There were some tweaks, however.
According to the Department of Finance spokesperson Julie Smith, council members asked for some budget changes, and the mayor’s administration approved some of those requests. The tweaks include:
- $1.5 million for the Safe Routes to School program that aims to make it easier and safer for students to get to and from school
- $270,000 to provide city employees who experience workplace trauma access to resources
- $250,000 in additional funding for the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund
- $189,000 for an attorney in the City Attorney’s Office who specializes in affordable housing
At least 75 percent of the city’s budget goes toward paying employee salaries, which leaves “a relatively small amount of wiggle room,” Smith said.
The plan includes a projected $9.5 million in additional revenue by increasing parking meter rates from $1 an hour to $2 an hour starting on January 1, 2022. Department of Transportation and Infrastructure spokesperson Nancy Khun outlined how the money will be used:
- $3.7 million to pay for Denver Moves transit component, supporting transit projects around the city and in partnership with RTD, including constructing a high frequency network
- $1.8 million to pay for Denver Moves bicycle component, including working on building bikeways in the city
- $1.8 million to pay for constructing and repairing sidewalks throughout the city, focusing on spaces near public and educational facilities and transit
- $1.8 million to pay for Vision Zero initiatives, including paying for improvements at high-crash intersections, road crossing safety treatments, and signal modifications
- $300,000 to pay for two full-time employees: an inspector and a project manager related to sidewalk repairs
The budget was crafted with council member feedback via budget hearings, which allowed city department heads to explain to members how they would use the money they were getting.
CdeBaca last week tried to make 14 changes to the spending plan, including using $100,000 to pay for an equity monitor who can oversee the city’s equity initiatives and using $100,000 to pay for bathrooms and handwashing stations near homeless encampments. None were approved.