Time to make Denver’s budget for next year. Glad I do not have to do it.

Starting this Wednesday, July 16, Denver City Council members will begin to address the next budget year: Annual Budget Presentations Kickoff: 2021 Budget Overview. We all know many of us have had to pull in our belts, and for some people in Denver have lost jobs, fear of losing their homes or apartments to eviction, or the incredible sadness of losing loved ones to COVID-19. 

But now, the 13 people on the city council have to figure things out. The most recent shortfall of the current city budget that has been reported is the loss of about $226 million, including eight furlough days for city workers. Furlough days were introduced during the Great Recession, so this is nothing new, but it’s not comfortable for anyone. But with many restaurants closed or allowing fewer diners, and with many arts institutions (Red Rocks, the DCPA, and the McNichols Building) not making money on tickets, plays and events, and other fiscal losses, this has been downright frightening. 

After all, this morning it was reported that the 2021 Stock Show would not happen, but is planned for 2022. It is another loss of revenue – and the annual event that is so important to the people who attend this event every year. 

On July 18, though, two meetings will be particularly important concerning public safety in Denver: the Annual Budget Presentations: Department of Safety and Denver Police Department, and the Annual Budget Presentations: Denver Sheriff Department and Denver Fire Department.

What is especially crucial is the fact that some people have been calling for change the way the police handle things in the future – or to be totally defunded. 

A story this morning by a reporter at Denverite read the past decades of budgets for the Department of Safety, which includes the police department and the sheriff’s department. The story explains a lot. Not about adding more staff and higher budgets, but, as the subhed notes: “Some of the most innovative programs — the ones that advocates and officials say have reduced conflict — are the least-funded and aren’t permanent.” (The fire department is not part of this story.)

The chart included in this post is from the city’s budgets for overall agencies. One might expect a bumpy ride.

Below are two links: One leads to the Denverite story, and the other leads to the list of the Denver City Council budget presentations this week and next week.

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