District 4 council member Alan Blaylock joined the Fort Worth City Council with three primary goals: lower property taxes, improve public safety and repair potholes.
Blaylock, whose district includes most of east Fort Worth, intended to address those concerns in that order through the upcoming budget process. A school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 21 prompted Blaylock to reshuffle those priorities.
“The events of the last few days have really driven the need for public safety discussions to be at the very top of the list,” Blaylock said.
The Fort Worth Police Department, Fort Worth ISD and Keller ISD should continue discussing strategies for improving safety in schools, Blaylock said. The council will continue to follow up with Fort Worth police about the status of school resource officers and safety improvements throughout all schools, he said.
“Everybody is on board with making sure kids are safe in our school system,” Blaylock said.
How to contact Blaylock’s office:
Council member Blaylock is accessible by email or phone. You may contact his office by calling 817-392-8804 or emailing district director Tara Holt at Tara.Holt@fortworthtexas.gov
After Blaylock’s initial interview with the Report, Mayor Mattie Parker drafted a blog post in which she advocated for speaking up at the state and national level for “commonsense” gun restrictions. Blaylock offered no comment on the post.
Police response times and staffing are also a challenge for District 4. Blaylock hopes to address understaffing within public safety departments throughout his term, he said. The results of an upcoming fire department staffing study will inform the council’s response to staffing shortages, Blaylock said.
Many of Blaylock’s goals will be determined through the budget process, including increased police staffing, which Blaylock favors. An increase or decrease in property tax rates also will be partially determined by the budget process, he said.
Fort Worth will adopt its tax rate and fiscal year budget in late September. Income from property taxes, along with sales taxes and fees, pay for a large portion of the city’s budget priorities. Other governmental entities like Tarrant County, Tarrant Regional Water District and school districts also levy property taxes on residents.
“We’ll continue to fight for (property tax relief),” Blaylock said. “I made that very clear in my campaign, and I’m going to keep that commitment.”
Voters approved $369.2 million for streets and transportation infrastructure as a part of the city’s 2022 bond package. Bond money will be used to construct Ray White Road South in the northern tip of District 4 and several improvements to neighborhood roads in the southern part of the district.
Other projects immediately outside of District 4 like the planned expansion of Meacham Boulevard and construction of Keller Hicks Road will have a direct impact on District 4 residents, too.
Those projects and ongoing construction should progress quickly to reduce construction’s impact on traffic, Blaylock said. Despite the recent investment, there are still roads in District 4 that need to be addressed. Blaylock will look to city staff and explore how to get additional funds to his district for road improvements.
What is PayGo funding:
PayGo is income from gas well royalties that are used for funding infrastructure projects.
“It’s my intention to fight for dollars in the entire district both for PayGo and through future bond packages,” Blaylock said. “It becomes a competition for dollars with other districts and just making sure that everyone understands that the Riverside and Woodhaven areas are hurting just as much as everywhere else.”
The city lost seven years of experience when Cary Moon exited the dais. After an unsuccessful run for the Texas House, Moon left the City Council and Blaylock was voted onto council in a special election.
The unresolved priorities facing District 4 are a conflict between Trinity Metro and the city regarding homelessness near city bus stops and the restoration of Woodhaven Country Club, Moon said.
“Woodhaven Country Club has been an eyesore for the area and suffered from the winter storm and has since been closed… But there will be good news to share on that project soon,” Moon said.
The first 90 days as a council member are typically spent meeting with department heads and fielding calls from constituents. Blaylock is well-positioned to take on the challenge of representing District 4, Moon said.
“Alan’s been engaged. He’s a Fort Worth native… He’s a hard worker devoted to his community, and he will be a good council member.”
The rest of Blaylock’s time is split between meeting with constituent groups, members of the various chambers and city staff to get initiated into the responsibilities of being a council member. The city employs about 7,000 people and those are often the people capable of making things happen, Blaylock said.
“As city councilman, I am an influencer that happens to have the ability to vote at certain points in time,” Blaylock said. “I am learning and getting up to speed with what’s going on.”
Getting up to speed includes meeting with and hearing from constituents via email, Blaylcok said. He encourages residents to call him directly or email his district director.
“It’s an ambition and a goal to be in every neighborhood this year… We’re certainly working hard to be available,” Blaylock said.
Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.