Boulder City Council on Tuesday agreed to adjust the city’s 2022 budget by about $37 million.
The modification, supported unanimously by the Council, is routine. Boulder typically OKs two such adjustments a year and occasionally more, particularly when there are extenuating circumstances or unexpected revenue such as the federal coronavirus relief funds.
The budget adjustment includes use of the city’s existing fund balance as well as new revenues from grants and other sources.
According to a staff memo from the meeting, the largest portion of the adjustment approved Tuesday is a reappropriation of existing grant or program investments within Housing and Human Services.
This includes some $22 million of affordable housing investments, community development block grant expenses and Community Housing Assistance Program investments.
Some of that $22 million will be used for new investments such as $40,000 for a consultant to kick off the middle income down payment assistance pilot program; $70,000 for the inclusionary housing strategic plan; and $120,000 to expand a pilot program that assists homeowners with special assessment costs from their homeowners’ association.
Furthermore, the adjustment sets aside money for the creation of what the city is calling a Homeless Respite Center, which will use $375,000 to repurpose an existing city building for a center to support Boulder’s unhoused residents who are recovering from illness or hospital stays.
Housing and Human Services Director Kurt Firnhaber said Tuesday that the city has been thinking about this particularly with the closure of its Coronavirus Recovery Center, which housed people who tested positive for the virus.
“It’s a specific population that we haven’t been able to support well,” he said about those recovering from illnesses or medical procedures that make living on the streets or in the shelter even more difficult.
The money allocated on Tuesday will go toward bringing the building at 2160 Spruce Street up to code so it can be used for this purpose. Boulder will be looking for additional funding to provide services that will be housed there, Firnhaber confirmed.
The City Council was supportive of the budget adjustment in general with some speaking specifically about the plan for the Homeless Respite Center.
“This will be such a needed resource for our community,” Councilmember Nicole Speer said.
Other new investments include money to purchase additional wildland fire equipment and to expand preparation within the community for wildfires.
The adjustment approved Tuesday allocates $250,000 of extra money from the 2021 climate action plan tax revenue for further climate resilience efforts.
In addition to the money set aside for Housing and Human Services, wildfire prevention and inflation costs, the budget adjustment also accounts for dozens of investments in staffing, which the city argues will help it meet current demands and prioritize retention.
As part of that, the city is planning for an additional 22.5 full-time employees with an ongoing cost of about $2 million.
Boulder is currently hiring for dozens of positions, including a homeless outreach coordinator, positions to support the city’s Crisis Intervention Response Team and a coordinator for its Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance program.
It’s also looking to increase staffing in its communications and engagement and human resources departments, among others.