Mayor Michael Hancock's $3.75 billion budget will be under scrutiny this week as Denver City Council holds its first of 17 budget hearings today.
The first meeting will be an overview of the proposed budget the mayor presented to council last week, which includes a $1.66 billion General Fund. Overall, he's asking for a more than 10% increase to the General Fund that is funded through taxes from sales, use, aviation short-term car rentals prepared food and beverage and the special sales tax on retail marijuana.
Other funds in the overall budget include those that are restricted in their use, or may be designated for capital improvements. The budget also has one-time funds from federal pandemic relief totaling more than $154 million — much of which is going to housing and homelessness projects.
The biggest increase, as a percentage of the total budget, comes in administration which will rise from $4.9 million to $6.4 million — about a 31.2% increase. The largest dollar increase will go to the parks and planning division, which will see a $5.1 million or 10.4% increase.
On Tuesday beginning at 9 a.m., council will meet to discuss departments such as Housing and Stability, Climate Action and Sustainability & Resiliency, Human Services, and Denver Health. Hancock recommends Housing and Stability funding receive an increase from $33.7 million to $35.7 million. Climate Action and Sustainability and Resiliency is recommended to see a $1 million increase, from $5.7 million to $6.7 million.
The mayor requested Human Services see an increase in appropriated funds from $207 million to $224 million. The mayor's budget classified Human Services expenditures as special revenue funds, meaning they must be used for a specific purpose.
The city council will meet Monday at 1 p.m. to discuss Hancock's requested funds for the parks and recreation department. The mayor requested an additional $13.5 million for the department. The total expenditure in that category will rise from $138 million to $151 million.
The hearings will be live streamed on Denver TV 8. Today's meeting starts at 9 a.m. and is open to the public. Denver 8 TV is the municipal access television station for the city and county of Denver governments. It can also be streamed online at denvergov.org.