Cutting $120 million with no job loss and no new revenue? Good luck with that, guys.
Mayor John Hickenlooper may be starring in his own documentary series, but if this morning's Denver Post is any indication, he's soon going to be starring in his own political thriller, in which he somehow tries to trim $120 million from the city's budget without decimating services, putting more people out of work, or taking more money out of his citizens' already-flimsy wallets. From the Post:
"What can we save if we sell this red carpet on eBay?"
He said he doubts the city has faced as drastic a drop in revenue since the Great Depression. The mayor must close a $120 million budget deficit over the next 18 months. ...
The mayor asked the council members to weigh in so he can get a sense of their priorities as he begins to shape his proposed 2010 budget, which must be submitted in September for council consideration.
The council appeared split, with Rick Garcia, Chris Nevitt, Jeanne Robb and Marcia Johnson saying they hoped the mayor would look for ways to raise revenue. Michael Hancock and Jeanne Faatz said they were wary of the impact of revenue increases on constituents trying to recover from the economic downturn.
The mayor himself reminded council members that the battered economy hasn't left the public eager to pay more.
In such predicaments, someone always loses out. In this one, everyone just might (especially Councilwoman Judy Montero, who oddly put her budget focus on making sure "the city is free of graffiti and weeds"). This we know: The next several months should serve as the biggest test of Hickenlooper's political career, making the execution of the DNC feel like just another day at the brewery.