City Council was also established by the Denver City Charter. The strong mayor-council form of government does provide for wide legislative power. For example, council appropriates all money necessary to run the city. Only council may pass or change laws, often after holding a public hearing. Much of the council's work involves zoning matters.
Council, or a committee authorized by it, has the power to investigate any departmental official of Denver city government accused of certain types of misconduct.
By provisions of the City Charter, Denver is divided into 11 council districts of approximately equal population. The number of districts can be changed only by changing the City Charter, but the district boundaries can be changed by ordinance. They are changed every 10 years based on new census data. In addition to the 11 district council members, two council members are elected "at large." All council members serve four-year terms.
Council elects its own president. Members of council are paid an annual salary and may, with certain limitations, have other employment while serving. The members of council and the districts they represent are:
- District 1 Northwest Corner
- District 2 Southwest Corner
- District 3 Southwest
- District 4 Southeast Corner
- District 5 East Central
- District 6 Southeast
- District 7 South Central
- District 8 Northeast
- District 9 West Central
- District 10 Capitol Hill
- District 11 Northeast Corner
- At Large
- At Large
City council meets every Monday evening at 5:30 p.m., except on legal holidays, in council chambers on the fourth floor of the City and County Building. All ordinances must have at least two readings before council and be approved by majority vote. These are called "first reading" and "second reading." Since, through the appropriations process, council controls the city "checkbook," members of council take an active part in budget hearings. They hear reports and funding requests from department and agency heads.
Much of the work of council is done in committees. There are ongoing committees and special committees established on an "as-needed" basis. A committee of city council covers issues from each of our agencies.
Just as the powers of the mayor are subject to certain checks and balances, the powers of the council are also checked and balanced by other arms of government. For example, the mayor may veto a law passed by council. The city auditor may refuse to give approval for certain council expenditures. The state and federal courts may rule as unconstitutional a law passed by council, if such a law is challenged in court. Denver's ban on assault weapons was a recent example, although the courts ultimately ruled in the city's favor.
Learn more about Denver City Council