Mayor Hancock proposes major cuts, furloughs in 2021 budget

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) — Around the nation, cities are cutting budgets. In Denver’s proposal for 2021, there will be cutbacks for agencies but more money for some public services.

The proposed budget would allocate $5 million for a homeless shelter on 48th Avenue along with an additional $1.5 million for homeless outreach.

Other social service boosts include efforts to decrease youth violence, assist those facing eviction and aid the immigration defense fund.

While those services are slated for an increase, agencies are set to see slashes.

Mayor Michael Hancock plans to decrease funding for agencies by more than $150 million.

Four-hundred job vacancies are a part of that total; that includes $7 million worth of vacancies for sworn police officers and firefighters.

City employees will also be furloughed for six to nine days next year, depending on pay.

City leadership says they are making the tough cuts to keep the city in good fiscal shape.

“We’re in the bone marrow in a matter of six months. There’s not very much more for us to go deeper without severely impacting our ability to deliver the service we all count on as taxpayers, without disrupting our workforce, and without really hurting our ability to maintain a good, healthy credit rating and keeping everyone safe and healthy,” Hancock said.

The proposal was drafted with the expectation of the virus not resurging. City leaders are focused on keeping reserve funding strong to make sure there is a safety net.

The layout also calls for $24 million from the general fund to go toward capital improvement.

Even with the ongoing pandemic, the city’s chief financial officer said the plan is to accelerate capital projects rather than stall them.

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