The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, but Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed budget for 2022 reflects optimism about how the city is recovering from the health and economic crisis.
Hancock and his staff estimated Wednesday that there would be $1.485 billion in general fund revenue to tap in 2022. That’s up 12% from an estimated $1.33 billion for this year, which is due to take its toll on municipal income that relies heavily on taxes on use.
If the estimate is for 2022, Denver will be on a similar footing where it was in early 2020, when the Hancock administration projected $1.486 billion in revenue. According to the Department of Finance, the city eventually fell short of $211 million.
In his budget paper released Wednesday morning, Hancock described the recovery in phases as largely COVID-19 vaccines, noting that more than 70% of eligible city residents have received the shots. He said that – and hundreds of millions of federal COVID aid dollars – is allowing the city to focus on recovery.
“My 2022 budget is financially responsible, equitable, invests in our neighborhoods, strengthens our local businesses, and serves as a driving force for our recovery,” Hancock wrote.
The 800-page budget will be subject to city council hearings and revisions before finally voting later this fall.