Denver City Council OKs $1.7 billion budget

Photo: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (AP Photo)
Michael B. Hancock is the mayor of Denver.

The Denver City Council unanimously approved Mayor Michael B. Hancock's 2015 budget proposal on Monday night.

The new $1.72 billion budget marks a 2.4 percent increase over 2014. Brendan Hanlon, the city’s budget director, told the City Council in late October that the budget continues the restoration of city services after the recession of 2008. The general fund, which pays for most of the city’s expenses, will increase nearly 7 percent to $1.2 billion.

After the 12-0 council vote Monday, Hancock said the budget allows the city to “meet the demands of a booming population, vibrant economy and increased development.”

“... [W]e must make extremely thoughtful, strategic and intentional investments to protect our neighborhoods, to serve our children, and to keep our residents safe. That’s exactly what this budget does,” Hancock said in a statement.

Highlights include more funding for new staff at the sheriff’s department, $10 million in improvements of city parks and trails, $47 million for redevelopment efforts in north Denver neighborhoods, and $3 million for more affordable housing.

The budget also pays for 30 new employees for city’s community planning and development department, aimed at reducing lag time for building permit approval.

“We issued more building permits in July 2014 – 7,228 – than in any single month in the past 10 years, requiring more processing, plan reviews and site inspections than ever before,” Hancock said in an introduction to his budget proposal in October.

No council members offered any amendments to the budget on Monday. In October, Hancock approved council suggestions to add another class of police recruits and explore plans for a new Denver motor vehicle branch in the southeast part of the city.

For more details, read the mayor’s budget proposal.