Denver skyline

The Denver skyline. (Joshua Hicks / iStock)

Denver leaders plan on proposing a citywide minimum wage increase to $15 by 2021.

Mayor Michael Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech said in a release Wednesday that they will be making a minimum wage announcement Thursday.

Spokeswoman Theresa Marchetta confirmed that the proposal is for $15 an hour by 2021, with incremental changes in the wage up to that point.

"This is a continuation of the conversation we started by raising the minimum wage of city employees," she said.

Marchetta said that there will be opportunities to provide input before anything changes.

"We will have to do a lot of engagement in the next couple of months leading up to that," she said.

More details of the plan will be revealed Thursday by the mayor.

"If adopted by City Council, more than 100,000 workers would see higher wages, improving quality of life for Denver’s residents and delivering a more equitable and progressive city," the release says.

Under a city law that took effect July 1, all city workers and contract employees are paid a minimum of $13 per hour. That minimum will rise to $14 per hour in July 2020 and $15 per hour in July 2021.

In his address to business leaders at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s July 30 State of the City luncheon, Hancock says the city needs to have “a tough conversation” about increasing wages for workers.

He pointed out that the state legislature earlier this year passed a measure, signed by Gov. Jared Polis, that gives local governments the ability to set a minimum wage for their communities.

“I ask that you join me and others in having it because we have residents in desperate need of a raise,” Hancock said in his speech.

“And we need to figure out  how to make it work so wage stagnation doesn’t continue to hold our people back from accessing our city’s and region’s success.”

Hancock did not spell out any specific proposal in his speech.

The late John C. Ensslin of Colorado Politics contributed.

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