Denver City Council is considering a handful of policy changes that would need voter approval in November before they could take effect.
The proposals — which require amendments to the city’s charter and therefore a green light from the public — range from chipping away at the city’s strong mayoral system and ensuring the council has more power to make budget decisions, to creating broadcast equity for Denver residents and modernizing requirements that the 13-member body must meet to do its business.
The Denver City Council referred its first two measures to the November 2020 ballot on Monday evening in a 12-0 vote. Councilwoman At Large Debbie Ortega, who was absent Monday due to a surgical procedure, brought forth both proposals.
The first would create a board for the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to advise the manager and review the proposed annual budget. The board will be made up of 19 members, six of whom will be appointed by the mayor, and the other 13 will be chosen by each of the 13 members of Denver City Council. Members selected on the board must live in the districts of their appointing council member.
Ortega's other proposal would allow the council to hire professional services, including legal counsel. The need for this charter change, she said during a Finance and Governance Committee hearing in May, was brought to the forefront when reviewing the massive contract for the Great Hall Project at Denver International Airport, which went sour and cost nearly $184 million to terminate.
Ortega at the time said it’s “incumbent” upon the council to know what it’s approving. That's the “essence” of this proposal, she said.