Denver ballot initiatives 2019: What are questions 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D about?

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Denver voters did the heavy electoral lifting earlier this year when they elected the mayor and council members, but they will see several low-profile questions on the Nov. 5 ballot, which began dropping Friday.

Each one was placed on the ballot by elected officials, which is why you didn’t meet any of their signature collectors. And they involve relatively little government spending, since they lean more toward “housekeeping” than “revolutionary new policy.”

Even so, some reflect bigger changes in the city. Here are the basics.

Referred Question 2A: The transportation department

This initiative would create a new Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, replacing Denver’s Department of Public Works. It’s basically a reorganization of DPW, which is responsible for local transportation — such as road building and maintenance, transit, bike lanes and scooter management — as well as sewers, flood control and more.

The department will retain the same staff and responsibilities, but its new name and structure will focus on transportation. It’s a final step for a reorganization that began in 2018. The change is expected to cost about $200,000, mostly to update marketing and communications materials.

The city’s long-term plans under Mayor Michael Hancock call for Denver to pay for services that supplement the Regional Transportation District, such as bus rapid-transit lines.

Referred Question 2B: Control of arts venues

This initiative clarifies that the city’s Arts & Venues agency is in charge of publicly owned venues such as the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre.

Arts & Venues already runs those facilities, but the authority technically belongs to the Department of General Services. The initiative would amend the charter to remove General Services’ role in running the venues, formally handing it to Arts & Venues. There won’t be any operational changes or costs, since General Services already delegates this power to Arts & Venues.

Both groups are run by mayoral appointees.

Referred Question 2C: Fire department jobs

This charter amendment would allow for the hiring of full-time emergency medical technicians at the Denver Fire Department.

Currently, the fire department pays people with other fire jobs to work overtime hours on its medical unit. The medical unit offers “basic life support services” in high-need areas, which is cheaper than sending a full fire truck. Question 2C would create a new EMT rank; the fire department expects to hire its first five dedicated EMTs in 2020.

City officials don’t expect immediate increased costs for the new EMTs, since the department will be saving money on overtime. The change also would formalize a “shift commander” rank, which reflects the current agreement with the firefighters’ union.

Referred Question 2D: Live where you work

You have to live in Denver to be elected in Denver. This charter amendment would clarify that you also have to stay in Denver to keep the job.

Under the modified law, any elected official who moves out of the city (or their district, for council members) would be removed from office and replaced in a special election. The changes applies to all elected positions in the city: the clerk, the auditor, council members and the mayor.

The city’s informational ballot book describes this as a way to close “a loophole” that would theoretically allow elected officials to move out of the city. No costs are anticipated — unless you’re an elected official who moves to, say, Punxsutawney.

This measure was initiated by Councilman Kevin Flynn.

About the election

The Nov. 5, 2019 election also will include Denver Board of Education races and the statewide measures Proposition CC and Proposition DD. Active, registered voters will receive ballots by mail starting the week of Oct. 14.

The city’s in-person voting centers are open from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5. The vote center at the Denver Elections Division — 200 W. 14th Ave — opens earlier, on Oct. 21.

Register online or check your registration at GoVoteColorado.com by Oct. 28 to receive your ballot in the mail. After that, you can still register online but must pick up your ballot or vote in person at Denver’s voter service centers. A map is available at DenverVotes.org under “Where To Vote.”

All ballots must be received by Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.

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