Denver Issue 2G: City Council’s budget authority

The measure would allow Denver City Council to change the budget mid-year. The mayor is already able to propose changes mid-year. Like the mayor, the council could only propose changes to how already-allocated cash can be spent or to direct how new revenue can be spent. Proposed changes must pass in the form of an ordinance and can only come after the council consults with the city’s chief financial officer.

The case for: This would give council more versatility in determining Denver’s spending priorities and what to do with new and unexpected revenue or unspent money. Given recent protests and calls to change the city’s law enforcement tactics, this change would enable council members to suggest more immediate changes to public safety departments rather than waiting until a new budget is proposed.

The case against: The more people who can suggest changes to the budget, the more complicated the budget development process can become. In addition, theoretically the council could propose changes despite possible opposition by the chief financial officer, which could make keeping the city’s finances in order a more difficult task.

Ballot question: “Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to give the city council authority to initiate a supplemental appropriation or transfer, following consultation with the Manager of Finance?”

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