City of Fort Worth’s new budget provides additional spending on safety and cleanliness
FORT WORTH, TX (CBSDFW.COM) – With increased revenue from soaring real estate values, Fort Worth plans to spend more next year to keep the city “safe and clean.”
The $2.3 billion budget presented to city council members on Tuesday includes money for more police and firefighters, but also spending on streetlights, road markers and environmental cleanup.
City Manager David Cooke recommended reducing the municipal tax rate by $0.02. Due to rising property values, this would still increase the tax bill by about $127 for the average homeowner in 2022.
Water rates and garbage collection fees will remain unchanged, with Cooke saying the city is aware of the hardships households are facing due to rising costs due to inflation.
Fort Worth is one of the three fastest growing cities in the nation, but new income from new residents alone is not enough to meet the needs of a growing city, Cooke said.
The new budget will include funding for 45 new police officer positions and more resources for crisis response teams and 911 communications.
The fire department will add more people to the city’s far north and receive additional funding for crews working with the city’s homeless population.
Transportation and public works would receive the largest total dollar increase in the budget, up nearly $18 million from last year. This would make up for the replacement of extinguished streetlights and the repair of floor markings on city streets.
One charge that would increase is the monthly environmental charge on water bills, for the first time since it was added 25 years ago. Rising from $0.50 to $1.50, it would expand the cleanup of trash, illegal dumps and campgrounds. It would also increase the city’s street sweeper fleet from 2 to 12 trucks.
Cooke said he expects there will be pressure to further reduce the tax burden, which could rule out some of the plan’s safe and clean additions. A series of public consultation meetings are due to begin next week, with the council due to vote on the budget by the end of September.