Fort Worth City Council approved the fiscal year 2023-24 budget and tax rate during a meeting Sept. 19, though it was not a unanimous vote.

Council Members Alan Blaylock of District 10 and Charles Lauersdorf of District 4 both voted against the budget, which passed 8-2. When the tax rate was voted on, those two and Michael D. Cain of District 3 voted against it for a 7-3 margin.

The budget is $2.6 billion, while the tax rate will drop to $0.6725 per $100 valuation, a $0.04 decrease from last year’s rate.

The city will generate $65 million more revenue from property taxes than it did in last year’s budget, according to documents.

City documents state the rate represents an increase in property tax revenue as it is above the no-new-revenue tax rate of $0.635374 per $100 valuation. City Manager David Cooke said it was the largest tax reduction in percentage for Fort Worth residents in at least 34 years.

What they’re saying

“There has been a consistent theme from my district, and that's expressing concerns about public safety, infrastructure and property taxes,” Blaylock said. “I'm proud of the incredible progress being made on public safety and infrastructure in the budget and more. There's lots of great things here. The third concern though property taxes is my concern with the budget and the tax rate. Inflationary pressures on constituents personal budgets force them to make hard choices. I regularly hear from my constituents that they feel overtaxed and underserved. And I believe that continual rate increases of government spending is unsustainable for the long-term health of our city. For those reasons and more, I will not be supporting this budget for the proposed tax rate.”

“I was elected to represent those in District 4. ... I don't think we got where we need to in the tax rate,” Lauersdorf said. “I can't support the budget, and it's the way it's set now. It's more the processes, and so I do hope that next year whenever we're having this conversation those in District 4 who may have issues with where we're at, they'll say, ‘Hey, council members, I know where we're at, and I'm OK with it because everything was transparent.'”

In a nutshell

The city worked with appraisal districts from Tarrant, Denton, Wise and Parker counties to estimate the tax revenue. City documents showed a 15.6% growth in adjust net taxable property value. Tax revenue is expected to increase by $235 million in FY 2023-24—$37.9 million more than FY 2022-23, according to documents.

The general homestead exemption is 20% for all residential homestead properties. There will be an increase from $40,000 to $60,000 in FY 2023-24 for homestead exemptions granted to senior citizens who are age 65 or older and/or disabled homestead owners.

“We are adding 100,000 people every five years,” Mayor Mattie Parker said. “I appreciate the leadership of this council. These are real hard decisions to make, and thank you for the city staff that sat through countless hours of public meetings and responding to the requests of the citizens of Fort Worth.”

Some notable numbers in the budget include the following:
  • The $2.6 billion budget shows an 11.4% increase from fiscal year 2022-23.
  • The general fund is 39% of the budget—a little more than $1 billion.
  • The operating funds account for 61% of the budget—which is $1.26 billion.
  • The Fort Worth Police Department will hire for 106 new positions.
  • The Fort Worth Fire Department will add 76 new positions, 23 which are being converted from temporary spots to permanent.
  • The Fort Worth stormwater division was allocated $2.9 million for additional inspecting and cleaning of culverts and drain pipes.
  • The budget includes an $11.4 million investment toward noise reduction near Perot Fort Worth Alliance Airport.
  • The Fort Worth Transportation and Public Works Department will add a new concrete crew for $1.96 million.
  • The budget allocates $2.8 million to maintain and enhance green space.
  • The budget includes more than $333,000 for landscaping, maintenance and litter abetment in high-traffic areas and right of ways.
The details

Several departments are slated to see pay increases that are part of the proposed budget. That group includes:
  • Police civil service employees
  • Fire civil service employees
  • General employees will receive an average raise of 4%.
  • Select city employees in "hard-to-fill" positions will get a 2.5% raise.