District 4 Council Member Alan Blaylock, one of two council members who represents the northeast portion of Fort Worth, voted against both the budget and tax rate. District 7 Council Member Leonard Firestone, the other local member, voted in favor of the motion.
The general fund for the budget is $915.3 million, which pays for most of the city operation and services, the presentation stated during the meeting. The general fund shows a 10% increase—$83.4 million—from the most recent fiscal year. City Manager David Cooke noted the increase is needed to handle the growth of the city and maintain infrastructure. More than 200 positions will be added by the city, with parks and recreation getting the most new additions with 55 added for after school and youth sports programs. That department also saw a reduction of 16 part-time jobs that were consolidated into full-time positions.
The Fort Worth Police Department will add 90 positions, including 73 sworn officers. The total budget for the police department is $289.5 million—32.6% of the overall budget—and that also includes seven positions for 911 call-takers and added homeless outreach program enforcement.
The Crime Control & Prevention District saw a $22 million increase in the budget to $117.7 million. The CCPD is expanding the crossing guard program to every Fort Worth middle school at the cost of $3.7 million. Positions were also added to the HOPE homeless crisis team, neighborhood patrol and mental health.
The Fort Worth Fire Department will add 23 total spots, 14 positions to staff Station No. 45, the new $1.8 million location near the Alliance area of Fort Worth at 1901 Quail Grove Drive. Also added were seven civilian support staff and two homeless outreach positions. The total fire budget is $192 million—21.1% of the budget—for a department that employs more than 900.
The Development Services Department is adding 38 new positions to help handle the growth of the city in terms of permits. Transportation and public works will add 11 spots to help increase response time for street light repairs, a right-of-way utility inspector and two positions for database management/safety and compliance. The code compliance department will see seven new positions to help handle inspection for multifamily rental properties. The Fort Worth libraries saw a $771,000 increase in budget to expand the collection of books, eBooks and entertainment options.
The tax rate was decreased for the second year in a row in Fort Worth, down two cents to $0.7125 per $100 valuation. This is the fifth time in six years the city lowered the rate, dropping more than $0.12 cents since 2016. The new tax rate, which is higher than the no-new-revenue rate of $0.70 cents, will raise an additional $73 million in revenue for the city.
Despite the decrease in taxes, Cooke noted the property bill could increase depending on the property appraisal. The Tarrant County Appraisal District added $12.5 billion in appraised value in 2022, which increased the homes and commercial properties to $125.6 billion. That is an increase of 14.5%.
City documents show a home valued at $200,000 would pay $1,425 in city property taxes. The average homeowner will pay 10.13% more this year than last due to the increased property value, according to city officials.