Hancock touts smarter government in annual address
DENVER – In his first State of the City Address Monday, Mayor Michael Hancock focused on his administration’s first-year efforts to streamline city government while announcing new initiatives aimed at building on that theme.
A new website launched Monday, e-Denver.com, will offer citizens 24-hour online access to city services; and new student ID cards will allow kids free access to the city’s libraries and recreation centers.
Of course, Hancock’s biggest challenge in the year ahead will be convincing citizens to help him pay for those city services by approving an ordinance to “de-Bruce” property taxes, allowing the city to keep millions of dollars in taxpayer revenue that is currently refunded to businesses and other property owners.
“With another nearly $100 million shortfall looming next year, we must face reality,” Hancock said Monday to a crowd of 300 people at the Nature and Science Museum in City Park.
“The time has come to deliver for our citizens a long-term, sustainable and smart solution. I will soon submit to the City Council and the people of Denver a balanced plan to fix our budget and get back on track. It’s not smart to rebate money while cutting basic services. We must remove the fiscal handcuffs of TABOR.”
“By retaining revenue we already collect, just like hundreds of other communities and school districts in Colorado, we can make smart investments in our city. We can hire police officers for the first time in four years. We can repave the quarter of our streets that have not been fixed in two decades. We can restore library hours and create jobs by better supporting Denver businesses.”
Hancock passed on other recommendations from the city’s Structural Financial Taskforce as a means toward getting Denver on firmer financial footing — asking voters to approve a library district, seeking a mill levy hike with revenues specifically for libraries or parks and charging residents for trash pick up at their homes.