Denver’s 2022 finances expected to return to pre-pandemic levels

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, but Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed budget for 2022 indicates optimism about how the city is recovering from the health and economic crisis.

Hancock and his staff projected Wednesday there’ll be $1.485 billion in the general fund revenue to tap into 2022. That’s 12% more than the $1.33 billion projected for this year due to the pandemic taking its toll on a municipal income that relies heavily on use taxes.

If the projections hold for 2022, Denver will be a similar footing to where it was at the outset of 2020, when the Hancock administration projected $1.486 billion in revenues. The city ultimately fell $211 million short, according to the finance department.

In his budget letter released Wednesday morning, Hancock laid the recovery largely at the feet of COVID-19 vaccines, noting more than 70% of eligible city residents have gotten the shots. He said that — and hundreds of million of federal COVID aid dollars — is allowing the city to focus on recovery.

“My 2022 budget is fiscally responsible, equitable, invests in our neighborhoods, bolsters 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 amendments before a vote is ultimately held later this fall.

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