The council lowered the city’s total tax rate to $0.07325 per $100 valuation, down $0.015 from the FY 2020-21 rate of $0.7475.
“Our goal is as your property tax increases, we lower our tax rate to offset that increase—and we are doing that today by about a penny-and-a-half, which is the largest decrease of any large city that is out there,” District 4 Councilmember Cary Moon said.
Council also passed a fiscal year 2021-22 budget totaling $1.8 billion that includes general fund expenditures of $831,934,777, as well as a late amendment to add 10 authorized staff positions, raising the total number to 7,549.
Moon said the 10 positions are firefighters who will start in a November training class.
The vote came after Michael Glynn, president of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association, told officials the Fort Worth Fire Department is short more than 200 firefighters.
“Seconds count when responding to a fire or emergency medical situation, and today, it takes much longer to respond than it did 10 years ago,” Glynn said.
Several council members and Mayor Mattie Parker spoke in support of the fire department and cited a staffing study that has been commissioned to examine the issue.
Council Member Leonard Firestone, who represents District 7, said the study would look at not only staffing, but also at equipment and facilities.
Despite the concern over a need for more firefighters, Parker said after the budget was unanimously approved that city staff had done good work in preparing it.
“There’s a lot of elements of this budget to be proud of,” Parker said. “I’d put our city budget, and the process that we utilize and transparency, up against many other cities in the country. So, I’m quite proud.”