Denver Mayor Mike Johnston said the lack of federal funding for the migrant crisis is forcing the city to make budget cuts.
DENVER — Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced budget cuts Friday to address a $180 million shortfall caused by the migrant crisis.
The first cuts are being made to services for Parks and Recreation and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The DMV will no longer provide registration service in person, and it will only be available online. There will also be rotating DMV closures starting on March 4. The central location at 2855 Tremont Street will not be part of the rotating closures.
Rec center hours will be reduced starting Feb. 20. Regional centers that are open seven days will be reduced to six days. Sites that are open six days will remain open on those days, but hours will be reduced. Summer programming will also be reduced by about 25%, and the city will not plant flowers this summer.
Johnston said that the cuts would not be the last or the “hardest.”
>Video above: Denver sees little support from other cities, even as it asks for help dealing with migrants.
Denver has seen more than 40,000 newcomers arrive over the past year, according to Johnston.
He said $180 million is the projected cost for providing necessary services to migrants who had come to Colorado, and that at this point there is no federal funding expected to assist with the expense.
He focused a lot of criticism on recent border legislation in Congress that Senate Republicans blocked despite bipartisan support when explaining why the cuts are being made.
“Without any federal support, without any work authorization, without changes to policy, we are going to have to make changes in terms of what we can do with our city budget, and what we can do in terms of support for newcomers when they arrive,” Johnston said.
He said departments have been asked to identify how they would make budget reductions.
“We were hopeful that with federal support those reductions might be smaller than we initially feared,” Johnston said. “Now, without federal support, we have to start operating towards that $180 million gap.”
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