Denver plans for $1.46 billion in general fund

Affordable housing, transportation highlighted in proposed budget

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The mayor’s office has released the 2019 budget for the city of Denver. The budget will allocate $1.46 billion in the general fund. Nearly $1 billion of the funds, or 67 percent, comes from taxes. The 2019 general fund has increased by around $60 million when compared to the estimated 2018 general fund.

Budget items include more than $50 million going toward affordable housing throughout the city, as well as $27 million going toward transportation projects. The city is specifically looking to improve bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

The city is looking to eliminate all late fees from the Denver Public Library system. Prior to this budget, money from library fees went toward the city’s general fund, not toward library programming, said Erika Martinez, the director of communications and community engagement with the Denver Public Library.

Many cities across the nation are starting to eliminate fees because it prevents people from using the library. Fees are also harmful toward a city’s more vulnerable populations, Martinez said.

The library will continue charging fees for items that are lost or damaged. Fees will also be put in place if an item is more than 28 days overdue, Martinez said.

In addition to those projects, the city has set aside funds to hire new police officers and firefighters. John White, a sergeant in the media relations unit with the Denver Police Department said that if the budget is approved, they will be hiring brand new officers with no experience, as well as a set of seasoned officers.

DPD will hire four sergeants, three detectives, 18 officers, three corporals. They will then place those officers strategically depending on where they’re needed, White said. Detectives for example may be placed on domestic violence cases, something DPD is working on addressing.

“We’re looking at the best way to deploy them to assist with our ongoing operations,” he said.

To learn more about the proposed 2019 city budget, visit https://bit.ly/2PoIWFP. The city website includes graphs on where the money is coming from for the general fund, as well as which city departments it will be distributed to. People can also download a PDF version of the full budget.

Members of the Denver City Council began budget hearings last month and will vote on the budget in November.

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