By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver City Council moved forward the city’s 2021 budget on Monday night without amendments. Councilmembers heard five amendments to the proposed budget, but none of them received enough votes to pass.

The five amendments were submitted by councilmember Candi CdeBaca. Mayor Michael Hancock sent a letter to council members over the weekend stating that he would not support amendments that cut agency budgets, specifically police department funding.

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Prior to Monday night’s meeting, Denver City Council heard budget presentations from various city agencies and held three budget working sessions. Councilmembers asked the mayor’s office for more than $5 million in the 2021 budget.

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Mayor Hancock identified funding for the following council requests:

  • STAR expansion: An additional $395,000 for Denver Department of Public Health and Environment for the STAR program for a total of $1.4 million in city funds. Once the STAR Expansion Work Group evaluates the pilot for evidence-based recommendation on the expansion of the program, the Mayor will support a total investment of $2.8 million through 50% matching of funds from the Caring for Denver program.
  • Transportation management association memberships: DOTI will utilize 2020 budget savings to fund these memberships totaling $220,000 to support these important public-private partnerships that help the city implement programs that improve our air quality and reduce our congestion.
  • Digital inclusion: $300,000 of funds in the city’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Special Revenue Fund will be set aside to support the need for digital technology for families and individuals in under-resourced communities, including those experiencing homelessness.
  • Citizen Oversight Board: $71,700 for a full-time position for Citizen Oversight Board will be funded from a vacant position from the Executive Director of Safety. The administration will initiate an ordinance to shift the appropriation to the Office of the Independent Monitor following budget passage.
  • Office of Aging grant position: The Administration will initiate an ordinance to use contingency to fund the balance of $50,000 for the 2021 position, contingent upon the completion of the legislative process.
  • Eviction legal defense and prevention: Due to the increased risk of eviction caused by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, $1 million in funds from the city’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Special Revenue Fund will be set aside to support residents facing eviction.
  • Parks restrooms: Parks will identify $365,000 of Parks 2A funds needed to ensure restrooms are open and operational for their full 2021 season, as well as to provide portable facilities in parks without permanent restrooms and where plumbing cannot be operated during winter months.
  • Rental registry program: Mayor Hancock will support a supplemental appropriation of $391,800 after the completion of a thorough community process and the passage of enabling legislation.

“I am beyond proud of the work that council has done together to ensure we continue to support our Denver residents during this challenging budget year,” said Council President Stacie Gilmore, adding “With the partnership of Council President Pro Tem Jamie Torres, we outlined a city council budget process early on and were able to create a collective path forward. We appreciate Mayor Hancock and his administration’s support and look forward to deploying these services to the community in 2021.”

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Denver City Council will hold a final vote on the 2021 city budget on Nov. 9.

Audra Streetman