DENVER — No area in the city of Denver is immune from proposed budget cuts to help pay for the immigration crisis. Every office from police departments to animal shelters is being asked to cut costs. It could also affect how much money elections departments get this year.
In the critical 2024 election year, the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office announced that Mayor Mike Johnston has requested nearly $1 million be cut from the department that oversees elections. The money is needed to pay for the migrant crisis.
The Denver Police Department (DPD) said it is working to find a place to cut its budget at the police station down the street. The same goes for the Department of Public Safety, Animal Shelters, and the Department of Health. All government agencies in Denver have been told to find ways to cut their budgets for the same reason.
“We have asked departments and agencies to consider how they can reduce their budgets,” Johnston said at a press conference on Friday.
Last Friday, Johnston publicly announced the first two cuts. $5 million from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Denver Parks and Recreation. Now we know a little more about what he was hinting at when he said further cuts were coming.
“These are the first steps, but unfortunately they are not the last steps, and they may not be the most difficult steps,” Johnston said.
The Denver District Attorney's Office announced it has been asked to cut its 2024 budget by 5%. The Department of General Services says it is aiming for a 15% reduction. Even the Department of Human Services, which is leading efforts to help immigrants, has already diverted $15 million from other projects toward the crisis and is looking for ways to further cut funding.
Even the Department of Transport and Infrastructure, which handles everything from picking up trash to potholes, may soon have to cut its budget.
It is still unclear how much funding many of these departments will be forced to cut from their budgets. Our understanding is that each department will submit a proposal to the Mayor's Office, which will then decide which spending to cut and where. Johnston said the city needs to find $180 million.
Below is a list of all the on-the-record responses 9NEWS received from each Denver agency we asked today about what budget cuts they were told to consider.
Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure
As previously reported, city departments have been asked to identify savings for 2024. DOTI leaders are currently evaluating the department's budget according to their requests. No decisions have been made regarding potential budget cuts for DOTI. Mayor Johnston said the city will have a better idea of any budget changes beyond those already announced in the coming months.
Department general services
Yes, the General Services Department has been asked to find savings within the department. We are in the early stages of identifying savings. The final amount is likely to be known in the coming months.
As you probably know, the Mayor is asking government agencies to examine up to 15% of their budgets. We won't know the exact numbers until the proposal is considered and assessed for impact and feasibility. We'll have more information to share about this in the coming months.
The mayor's office asked all city departments to scrutinize their budgets. We are committed to doing our part to support the city as a whole, and our biggest contribution as an independent agency is to provide the mayor's agencies with insights based on our audit work to identify savings opportunities. We believe in providing. We have offered to meet regularly with the Mayor's team to provide updates on savings opportunities.
denver police department
DPD is in the process of identifying potential budget savings measures to present to the Mayor's Office, and the department is approaching this process with the goal of minimizing the impact on services to the community. Please contact the mayor's office for details.thank you
Ministry of Public Security
The mayor asked all city agencies, including the Department of Public Safety, to begin identifying potential budget cuts for 2024. It is too early to say at this time what specific cuts will be made within our department until we have time to assess and evaluate. Identify options. We'll have more information to share about this in April.
Denver Department of Public Health and Environment/Denver Animal Shelter
DDPHE, like other city agencies, must identify cost savings. As a division of DDPHE, animal shelters also need to find savings.
clerk and recorder
Yes, Mayor Johnston asked our office to cut nearly a million dollars from our budget.
This is a significant year for our office, with four elections taking place. Secretary Lopez and executive leadership have expressed concern about this request and are currently consulting with the Mayor's Executive Team on how to avoid budget cuts in a year where the stakes are high.
While there is no resolution yet, we are hopeful that we can get through 2024 without sacrificing the safety and security of election workers.
Ministry of Welfare
All departments have been directed to pursue cost reductions. At DHS, this recently meant diverting $15 million from the revitalization of the Richard T. Castro Building to the Immigrant Response Fund. Like other sectors, we seek to identify savings while limiting the impact on the people we serve.
Housing Stability Office (HOST)
The host was included in a request from the administration to evaluate the budget to find savings.
District Public Prosecutors Office
We have been asked to reduce our 2024 budget by approximately 5% and are currently in the very preliminary stages of considering certain cost reduction options.
denver mayor office
Mayor Johnston has directed all city departments to evaluate their budgets and identify potential savings. It is too early to say specific savings in other departments until we have time to evaluate and identify options. That work is currently underway and is expected to take weeks to months to complete. The mayor also warned other elected officials who receive funding from the city but do not report to the mayor that the funds could be used to address costs related to the immigration crisis. , asked that savings be considered in the 2024 budget. This participation is merely requested and not required.
The City of Denver is focused on securing federal work permits for as many immigrants as possible as quickly as possible. We are working directly with USCIS on these work permit clinics, for individuals without work permits, on how to legally and humanely support newcomers while maintaining the city's fiscal health. We have been consulting with the White House. (See background on this below).
We do not plan to roll out budget announcements every month. As departments continue to consider specific savings options, we will continue to evaluate and announce decisions once they are finalized. These decisions are expected to be made in his early second quarter of 2024.
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