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2020 budget proposed, opportunities for public feedback unveiled

Posted Aug. 13, 2019

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The city manager recommended a $1.8 billion budget on Tuesday that continues to focus on infrastructure improvements while also decreasing the property tax rate.

“For a fourth consecutive year, the city’s economic outlook is positive, from improvements in local job growth and sales tax collections to increases in residential and commercial values and new building permits,” City Manager David Cooke said. “Along with Fort Worth’s impressive population growth have come increased demands on city services and infrastructure and, ultimately, the requests for more financial resources.”

The recommended budget is an increase of 4% over the fiscal year 2019 adopted budget. The budget includes 114 net new positions, including 58 in the Police Department, 29 to staff a new animal shelter, 14 to staff a new fire station, ten to staff a new library and six code enforcement officers.

Cooke had five overarching goals as he headed into the 2020 budget. The proposed budget includes these achievements:

Goal 1: Increase funding for capital investment and maintenance

The recommended budget increases cash funding dedicated to capital projects, including funds for street maintenance and repair, as well as funds to improve neighborhood vitality and safety. The budget allows the city to implement the 2018 Bond Program, while planning for a 2022 Bond Program.

Earlier, Cooke presented an outline for a five-year capital planning process aimed at replacing and improving aging infrastructure for one of the fastest-growing large cities in the nation. Cooke sketched out a five-year plan that would add $1.85 billion in capital improvements through the fiscal year 2024 budget.

Goal 2: Open new facilities and meet current obligations

The recommended budget allows the city to staff new facilities approved by voters: the Golden Triangle Library in far north; the Reby Cary Youth Library in east Fort Worth; Fire Station 43 to serve the Walsh Ranch community; Fire Station 45 near US 287 & Harmon Road, an animal shelter facility in far north; and new parks.

The budget also fully funds the increase in City Pension Contributions, previously approved during FY 2019.

Goal 3: Improve Equity of City Services

One addition to the budget process is an effort to begin evaluating infrastructure maintenance and investment based on equity. This effort is in line with recommendations from the city’s Race and Culture Task Force.

Cooke said city officials are starting to use data about equity, which will influence where and how capital improvement dollars are spent.

As part of this effort, the city plans to create a Diversity & Inclusion Department, create a police monitor program and institute a police cadet program. The city will also use pay-as-you-go funds to continue neighborhood improvements and equitable capital investments.

Goal 4: Achieve priority initiatives

This goal emphasizes these priority objectives:

  • Increase staffing for police patrol and code enforcement.
  • Implement the strategic plan for the Economic Development Department.
  • Meet current obligations, such as pay and benefits related to collective bargaining for firefighters and meet and confer for police.
  • Offer a pay for performance plan to city employees.

Goal 5: Reduce the property tax rate

Cooke recommended reducing Fort Worth’s property tax rate by 3.75 cents, from 78.5 cents per $100 valuation to 74.75 cents. The owner of a home valued at $200,000 with a homestead exemption would pay $1,196 in city property taxes. If the City Council approves the new rate, the property tax rate will have declined by 10.75 cents over the last four years.

Total appraised property value for 2020 has increased by 13.1% over last year, reaching more than $103 billion.

Give your feedback on the budget

Fort Worth residents have opportunities to comment on the recommended 2020 budget. Budget hearings are scheduled for:

  • Aug. 27, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 10, 7 p.m. Hearings will be conducted during regular meetings of the City Council at City Hall, 200 Texas St.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on adopting the budget and the tax rate at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at City Hall.

Residents can also give their feedback online.

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Calendar

Canceled Mayor's Committee on Persons with Disabilities Meeting: 10 a.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods, 818 Missorie Ave.

Senior Holiday Luncheon at Handley Meadowbrook: 11 a.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St.

Regionl Transportation Council Meeting: 1 p.m. Dec. 12, 2019; North Central Texas Council of Governments, Transportation Council Room, 1st Floor, 616 Six Flags Dr, Arlington, TX, 76011.
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Regular Meeting of The Construcion and Fire Prevention Board of Appeals: 2 p.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Development Conference Room, Lower Level, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Winter Wonderland Dance at Greenbriar Community Center: 5 p.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Greenbriar Community Center, 5200 Hemphill.

Municipal Court Hearing: 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13, 2019; Southwest Municipal Court, Court No. 9, 3741 Southwest Loop 280.
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Deferred Compensation Oversite Committee Meeting: 9 a.m. Dec. 13, 2019; Fort Worth Credit Union Board Room, 2309 Montgomery St.
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Winter Bash at Handley Meadowbrook Community Center: 6 p.m. Dec. 13, 2019; Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty.

Winter Dance at R.D. Evans Community Center: 7 p.m. Dec. 13, 2019; R.D. Evans Community Center, 3242 Lackland Rd..

Holiday Drop & Shop at Southwest Community Center: 9 a.m. Dec. 14, 2019; Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave.

Canceled Trinity Metro Board of Directors Meeting: 8 a.m. Dec. 16, 2019; Fort Worth Central Station, 1001 Jones Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102.
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Building Standars Commission Pre-Meeting: 9 a.m. Dec. 16, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Building Standards Commission Meeting: 9:30 a.m. Dec. 16, 2019; City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Southgate Development Infrastructure Improvements Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Dec. 16, 2019; Texas Health Hugley Fitness Center, 11801 S. Freeway.

Audit Committee: 1 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

Fort Worth Local Development Corporation Meeting: 2 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, Second Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

Christmas Social at Hillside Community Center: 6 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; Hillside Community Center, 1201 E. Maddox Ave.

City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; City Council Chambers, Second Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

View the full city calendar and current meetings.