Denver mayor OKs more funds for social services program

DENVER (AP) — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the city will invest $3 million into the STAR Program in 2021, which pairs mental health experts with social services on certain 911 calls.

The operation will be moved to the city’s public health department, according to Department of Finance spokesperson Julie Smith.

The decision comes after Hancock released his draft budget for 2021 in September, which includes millions of dollars in cuts as the city faces historic tax shortfalls, the Denver Post reported Saturday.

The budget laid out employee furloughs and smaller investments in social services. It also included changes to law enforcement guidelines. The city council reviewed the document and recommended seven changes and suggested where more money could be found. One suggestion was for a larger investment in the STAR Program.

Hancock will submit a revised budget next week that includes increases in other city services. The council will hold public hearings on the new budget.