Mar 9, 2021 - News
How Denver spent 2020 COVID relief funds
Data: City and County of Denver; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Denver will get $287 million in the new COVID relief package — but the city still needs to spend money from the first stimulus bill.

What's happening: More than $15 million from the $127 million in coronavirus relief funds — approved as part of the CARES Act a year ago — remains unspent, city figures show. Other expenses are awaiting federal reimbursement.

  • Officials say they've allocated the money but not spent it all yet, which they have to do by the end of the year.

What's new: The local government aid in the latest relief bill is expected to have fewer restrictions, and Mayor Michael Hancock's administration hopes to use it to offset pandemic revenue losses.

  • "We are going to have to make sure we are balancing emergency needs along with the city's financial conditions," chief financial officer Brendan Hanlon said at a recent meeting.

The intrigue: Denver auditor Tim O'Brien is raising concerns about the level of accountability regarding how the CARES Act money was spent because of vague rules, and an outside analyst suggested some of the spending was questionable, The Denver Post reports.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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