Fort Worth, Texas – In a consequential move that has both fiscal and political ramifications, the City Council of Fort Worth is poised to scrutinize a proposed budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, as well as an adjusted tax rate, during an upcoming meeting scheduled for September 19 at 5 p.m. The Fort Worth budget under consideration is a staggering $2.6 billion, which is slated to undergo a critical assessment by the council members.
Fort Worth proposed budget for 2023-24 fiscal year includes property tax decrease
This newly proposed tax rate, should it secure approval, would manifest a reduction to $0.6725 per $100 of property valuation, marking a four-cent decrease from the previous fiscal year’s rate. Notwithstanding the ostensible reduction in the tax rate, the city is projected to amass an additional $65 million in property tax revenues compared to the last fiscal year, according to official documentation.
It’s worth noting that despite this nominal drop in the tax rate, it still represents an increment in property tax revenue. This is due to the fact that the proposed rate surpasses the no-new-revenue tax rate of $0.635374 per $100 valuation, as delineated in city records.
In an articulate and comprehensive letter addressed to the council, City Manager David Cooke meticulously outlined the budget’s structural components. He elaborated that the general fund constitutes nearly $1 billion of the overall budget, supplemented by an amalgamation of debt service funds and operating funds. Cooke went on to elaborate that the city’s vast operations are conducted by an expansive workforce exceeding 8,000 employees, spread across an array of 20 diverse departments citywide.
Fort Worth proposed budget for 2023-24 fiscal year has 3 key points
The budget proposal presents several intriguing data points that command attention:
- With an 11.4% surge in comparison to the 2022-23 fiscal year, the proposed $2.6 billion budget signifies substantial growth in city expenditure.
- Occupying 39% of the total budget, the general fund hovers just above the $1 billion mark.
- Conversely, operating funds lay claim to the majority share of the budget, constituting 61% or approximately $1.26 billion.
This intricate budget and tax proposal, replete with nuances and laden with strategic priorities, represents not merely numbers on a page, but the socioeconomic trajectory of Fort Worth, thus warranting a thorough and nuanced evaluation by the City Council.
City of Fort Worth worked with appraisal districts across four counties for better tax planning
In a collaborative endeavor that underscores the complexities of fiscal planning, the City of Fort Worth engaged with appraisal districts across four counties—Tarrant, Denton, Wise, and Parker—to meticulously formulate projections for tax revenue. Official city documents have revealed a significant upsurge of 15.6% in adjusted net taxable property value, which bodes well for the city’s financial health. Consequently, tax revenues are projected to burgeon by $235 million in the upcoming 2023-24 fiscal year—a considerable increment of $37.9 million compared to fiscal year 2022-23.
Furthermore, the general homestead exemption, which currently stands at 20% for all residential homestead properties, is slated for recalibration. In a move aimed at providing financial relief to some of the city’s most vulnerable populations, the exemption for homesteads belonging to senior citizens aged 65 and older, as well as disabled homeowners, will experience a notable augmentation from $40,000 to $60,000 for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
Amidst this intricate financial landscape, multiple city departments are positioned for enhancements in employee compensation as delineated in the proposed budget. Specifically, civil service employees within the police and fire departments are earmarked for pay increments. Meanwhile, general employees across various departments stand to benefit from an average salary increase of 4%. In a targeted approach to address staffing challenges, the city will also enact a specialized 2.5% pay hike for employees in positions that have been categorically identified as “hard-to-fill.”
This multi-faceted budget proposal not only encapsulates adjustments in revenue streams and tax protocols but also commits to investment in human capital, thereby underlining the city’s strategic initiatives aimed at balancing fiscal responsibility with social equity. The upcoming City Council meeting, therefore, assumes heightened importance, as it will offer a platform for deliberative discourse on a budget that is not merely a ledger of financial transactions, but a roadmap for the city’s future.