The city of Denver is set to cut $5 million from its Parks and Recreation and DMV budgets as it faces a staggering $180 million bill to house immigrants in 2024.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced the cuts this week and warned that the worst is yet to come.
“While they are the first steps, unfortunately they will not be the last,” Johnson said, adding that the cuts probably “will not be the most difficult either.”
Denver officials warn that the 38,464 migrants they have served since the end of 2022 are increasing every day. Mile High City is one of several Democrat-run metropolises that have seen
The city is one of many where migrants are routinely transported after entering the US, with weak policies at the southern border that allowed CBP’s record for migrant encounters to be broken in December with more than 302,000.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced the budget cuts this week, warning that they “won’t be the last” and probably “won’t be the hardest.”
Denver city officials warn that the 38,464 migrants they have served since the end of 2022 are increasing every day. Pictured: Venezuelan migrants wait in line to obtain documents needed to be admitted to shelters at a migrant processing center on May 9, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.
In addition to the $5 million that will be cut from the two departments’ budgets, Denver officials will also take $10 million from contingency funds and $15 million from maintenance projects across the city.
But since those costs only add up to $30 million, there remains a $150 million shortfall caused directly by the immigration crisis.
Although Johnston cautioned that Denver residents should expect more to come, he tried to rally the city behind his plan and said it would be worth it to provide shelter to those who arrived, especially considering Colorado’s cold climate.
“This is a plan of shared sacrifice,” he said.
‘This is what good people do in difficult situations: you try to find a way to serve all your values. Our values are that we don’t want to be a city where we have women and children on the streets in tents in 20 degree temperatures.’
Johnston added that he hopes the budget can return to normal in 2025, but sounded less confident when he said “everything is on the table for us.”
Cuts to the Parks and Recreation department will begin Feb. 20, reducing opening hours at recreation centers across the city.
Residents will also not be able to enjoy recreation centers every day of the week, as those open seven days will be reduced to six days.
Those that were already only open six days a week will have their hours reduced.
Migrants photographed waiting in a park in Denver, Colorado, in May 2023, one of the sites that will see a significant reduction in funding this year due to the border crisis.
Mayor Johnston warned that Washington’s inability to solve border problems leaves many migrants unable to work in their city
City officials are cutting summer recreation programming by 25 percent, warning it could increase in coming months as the budget is still under review.
This could mean that those who rely on seasonal work for additional funding during the year, such as park maintenance workers, could see their roles disappear, according to KDVR.
Denver residents hoping for the return of spring flowers across the city will be disappointed, as budget cuts mean the city won’t plant flower beds this year either.
The city is also pausing all new requests until later in the budgeting process for public events, social events and tournaments, bringing social life to a standstill.
In cuts to the DMV, residents will no longer be able to obtain vehicle registrations in person after March 4.
Instead, all vehicle registrations will need to be completed by mail, online or at in-store kiosks.
The impact on the DMV would not end there, however, as four branches will close for one week at a time every four weeks on a rotating basis.
Workers within the DMV will also see their time sheets reduced, the mayor said.
Venezuelan migrants wait in line to obtain paperwork to be admitted to shelters at a migrant processing center on May 9, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.
In a news release about the cuts, the city said, “By conducting routine renewal transactions online, the city can preserve in-person support for new registrations, title services, license plates and people who need additional assistance.”
Johnston said the cuts will also affect how they serve migrants and the number of migrants they will seek to offer shelter to.
The press release said: ‘If federal action is not taken, more immigrants will arrive who will need extensive support because they cannot work.
‘Denver is a welcoming city and we have done everything we can to serve newcomers with dignity and compassion; That won’t stop.
‘However, Denver cannot continue to endure this alone. We don’t close the door, but we give better support to newcomers coming to our city.’
Johnston had previously ordered all city departments to find a way to cut up to 15 percent of their budgets to make up for the immigrant shortfall.
This came as he called for urgent federal help to make potential cuts redundant, but hopes were dashed after a bipartisan $118 billion border bill collapsed in Washington due to discord among Republicans this week. .
The mayor took to Instagram to criticize the bill’s failure, saying Denver residents should rightly be left “heartbroken and furious.”
Johnston said the bill’s failure means efforts to expedite asylum claims and allow migrants to start working in cities will be hampered.
He continued at a press conference on Friday morning: ‘We have welcomed more than 40,000 newcomers to this city.
“And if we are talking about 50 or 60 of them who do not have housing, that means that 99.9% of the people who have arrived in this city with sandals and T-shirts without services, without support or infrastructure, we have managed to integrate into the fabric of this country.
‘I want to make it clear to Denverites who is not responsible for this crisis we are in: the people who have walked 3,000 miles to get to this city. Families like the one I spoke to that had a grocery store in Venezuela,” Johnston said.
‘Where you live with 34,000% inflation, so the Coca-Cola you bought for one dollar now costs $340, but your monthly salary is still stuck at $40? You can’t survive that.’