Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday released his 2020 city budget totaling almost $1.5 billion and noted blunting economic growth, in part blaming the Trump administration.
The $1.49 billion budget, up from $1.46 billion in last year's budget, includes an increase of over 190 permanent city government jobs (55 transferred from other areas) and millions in spending on transportation, climate change and social justice.
“The people’s priorities are clear, and his budget proposal advances them by opening access to equity and opportunity, tackling affordability and improving support for our residents experiencing homelessness, building a mobility system to reduce traffic and congestion, promoting progressive policies, combating climate change, and ensuring all our neighborhoods are safe and offer a high quality of life,” Hancock said.
Hancock added the city will maintain its “strong fiscal stewardship of the people’s tax dollars,” despite slower economic growth and “questionable policies coming from the White House.”
City Council will get to work on the budget next week and is expected finalize it in November.
The mayor’s proposal pledges $40 million to fight climate change, including the creation of the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency, which will be appropriated almost $5 million for the year.
The budget will include $850,000 for the office to be established.
Affordable housing resources and programs will get $97 million in the budget and $118 million will go towards a buildout of the city’s transportation system.
Also in the budget is $3 million for social justice initiatives that the mayor’s office says will help to “correct the intentional bias and historic inequity within our institutions and criminal justice system.”
A significant portion of the budget will go towards improving neighborhoods using $864 million. Of that funding, $153 million will go towards parks and recreation centers, and $6.2 million to hire new fire and law enforcement positions, according to the budget.
The city’s general fund reserve is projected to be $223.6 million.
Property taxes in the city, which go towards the general fund, are expected to increase over $20 million from the previous budget to $151.9 million.
Sales and use taxes are projected to bring the city over $758 million in revenue, a $41.9 million increase from the previous year.