DENVER – Blaming Congress for failing to reach a consensus earlier this week on an immigration bill that would have helped cities like Denver deal with the migrant crisis, Mayor Mike Johnston on Friday announced long-forewarned cuts to city services as Denver entered a “different stage” in its response to the influx of migrants coming from the southern border.
Here's what’s going to change for Denverites through at least the end of the year starting later this month.
The DMV is changing how it does (some) business
The DMV will stop processing vehicle registration renewals in-person beginning March 4. Anyone who needs to renew their vehicle registration will have to do it online after that date. Vehicle registration renewals can be done online by clicking here.
Those who do not have internet access can also renew their vehicle registrations by mail or at a kiosk.
If going the mail route, you’ll be asked to mail your payment, your renewal card and proof of emissions or insurance (if required) to Denver Motor Vehicle Main Office, located at 2855 Tremont Place, Denver, CO 80205.
Those renewing their vehicle registrations through a kiosk which are located in grocery stores around the city will be able to print registration stickers on the spot. Denverites who need an emissions test can use the kiosk the day after the emissions test is completed. Results will show up in the kiosk, city officials said. Need to find a kiosk near you? Click here.
City officials said that moving vehicle registration renewals online will help the city preserve staff for new vehicle registrations, which must happen in-person, as well as for title services, license plates and people who need additional assistance.
The DMV will also have weekly rotating closures to allow staff employees from one closed branch staff the other four satellite locations. No changes will be made to the days and hours of the DMV main office in Denver (located at 2855 Tremont Place). All other branches at the DMV will close for one week, every four weeks, on a rotating basis.
No employees will be laid off, but the city won’t be hiring a recruit class of nine new DMV employees due to these cuts.
Rec. Centers will see reduced hours, parks won’t be as pretty this year
Denverites will also see some closures or reductions in hours of operation at rec. centers, depending on where they live, and parks won’t look as lively once spring rolls around.
To start, all 30 recreation centers across Denver will reduce their hours beginning Feb. 20 – but the reductions won’t be the same across the board.
Regional centers will operate six days a week instead of seven, while local and neighborhood rec. centers will continue to be open six days a week, but with reduced hours of operation. Updated hours of operation for rec. centers will be available online next week, city officials said.
Denver will also reduce spring recreation programming by 25%, but reductions could be updated “as we continue with the budgeting process,” a city spokesperson said Friday.
City parks will also not look as pretty in the spring and summer this year, as Denver will forgo planting flower beds in the city this year.
Parks and Rec. will also be pausing new applications for several permit types until further into the budgeting process, including public event permits, special occasion permits, and tournament permits. All historic and new events that submitted permit requests on or before Feb. 4 will not be impacted, city officials said.
Services, support for incoming migrants will be impacted
While Denver won’t shut the door on new migrants escaping violence and economic instability in their home countries, Johnston said the city “cannot continue to bear this alone,” and as a result, the city will makes changes to the services and supports it provides new migrants.
To start, the city will begin to decrease the number of newcomers that its serves and will continue monitor spending.
“We have to do both. We’re going to have to try to find creative ways to reduce the number of folks that we serve and the number of services we can provide and also reduce the budget at the same time,” the mayor said.
In a news release, city officials said these cuts will amount to approximately $5 million in savings, which combined with $10 million from contingency funds and another $15 million from the Castro building, saving total about $30 million as a start to help the city respond to the influx of migrants.
“While they’re the first steps, they unfortunately will not be the last and may not be the hardest,” Johnston said. “We will have additional cuts in the weeks ahead.”