Election Day is May 6 and the Fort Worth Report is committed to keeping you informed through our Election Central.
To help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box, we asked every candidate to respond to a candidate questionnaire intended to touch on the most pressing issues candidates may face while serving in elected office.
The candidate’s responses may be edited for grammar.
District 9 includes Fort Worth’s downtown and the south central core of the city. To find out what district you live in, input your address here.
Municipal elections are coming up. Here are some key dates:
April 24: Early voting begins
May 2: Early voting ends
May 6: Election Day
Name: Elizabeth M. Beck
What are your qualifications to serve on Fort Worth’s City Council?
I currently serve as your District 9 Councilwoman, which has given me a tremendous amount of experience and perspective in representing the district and the city. My experience as a lawyer provides me the ability to dig into the details and critically analyze the situation and the skill to passionately advocate for my residents. Prior to practicing law, I received my Masters in City and Regional Planning and worked at the North Central Texas Council of Governments as a transportation planner. My in-depth understanding of city planning and zoning is particularly useful to the residents of District 9 because this district often has significant zoning changes that impact both the district and the city. My time as a Sergeant in the Army taught me that leaders lead from the front, and how to work and live with people who do not look, think or act like you to accomplish a mission. I have served as president of my children’s PTA, on the boards of Congregation Beth-El, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Fort Worth Community Board, Annie’s List Tarrant County Steering Committee, and as Vice President of my HOA.
I firmly believe that my education, life, and professional experience allow me to be a highly effective member of the city council. I have the ability to think broadly at the policy level, the experience applying that policy framework to on-the-ground applications, and the courage to lead from the front on the toughest issues facing our city. This is why I continue to be the best choice for District 9 and Fort Worth.
What are your top two priorities if elected to City Council? Describe briefly how you would approach these priorities.
1. Ensure that Fort Worth’s infrastructure is adequate and reliable to address growth, maintain quality of life, and keep our residents safe. On council, I have committed to investing in projects to repair District 9’s aging infrastructure and ensure that current infrastructure can accommodate growth throughout the district. I have fought to invest in our Transportation and Public Works department to reduce the repair time of streetlights, and increase the frequency to re-stripe our roads. Inadequate stormwater infrastructure has significant impacts in several areas of the district; it is an issue that requires several hundred million dollars to address. I have worked closely with staff to develop short-term and long-term projects to reduce flooding and will continue to seek funding sources both internal and through regional, state, and federal partners.
2. Provide smart solutions to address our homeless populations while being mindful of taxpayer dollars. On council, I secured $5 million of Federal ARPA dollars to build additional housing for our homeless population and families who experienced domestic violence, advocated for additional funding for the FWPD HOPE team, which specifically works to address our homeless population, and new positions for the FWPD Crisis Intervention Team, which helps individuals experiencing a mental crisis. I will continue to advocate for smart solutions to reduce the homeless population in Fort Worth and lessen the impacts to our neighborhoods from homeless camps.
How would you characterize the performance of city management over the past five years?
I have had the opportunity to work with city management during my first two years on council. During that time, I have experienced a group of individuals that are extremely committed to the success of our city. Management has been open to new ideas and opportunities to improve our responsiveness to community concerns. A great example is how T&PW prioritized street striping in the most recent budget in response to constituent concerns over safety. With any organization as large as the City of Fort Worth there is always room for improvement and, when presented with mistakes or mishaps, they develop a plan to prevent it from happening again. I think we can improve efficiency and communication within the city and I have found management committed to finding those solutions so that we can provide a world class city while being smart with your tax dollars.
What is the single biggest issue your particular district faces?
The biggest issue facing District 9 is how we manage explosive growth while focusing on providing safe, reliable infrastructure, providing housing options residents can afford, improving schools, and lowering property taxes — all without losing the character of our community and displacing residents. District 9 has experienced a tremendous amount of redevelopment and in some instances the character of entire neighborhoods has been changed, in others we did not do an adequate job of ensuring we have adequate infrastructure to accommodate growth. Ensuring that we encourage positive development in the district in a smart and deliberate manner so that we do not displace current communities or create infrastructure deficiencies is a complicated balancing act and requires expertise and hard work to navigate.
How will you balance the concerns of your district vs. the city as a whole?
District 9 is the heart of the city and home to the largest concentration of jobs in Fort Worth. What happens in District 9 can often have dramatic impacts on the city as a whole. For example, Texas A&M investing $350M in a new Downtown campus directly impacts the district, but will also have a dramatic impact on the city as a whole. I make it a priority to keep this in mind when making decisions for the district. As your District 9 Councilwoman, it is also my job to advocate for my neighborhoods and constituents at City Hall and ensure they have the resources and support they need.
How can city leadership work to ensure all Fort Worth residents have equal access to city services regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and income?
Fort Worth’s diversity is one of its strengths, and it’s important that the city address the needs of all residents. The city has made great strides in implementing the recommendations of the Race and Culture Taskforce. The city council must continue to monitor our progress and support initiatives to implement the recommendations. Our Office of Diversity and Inclusion has made great strides in improving municipal equity, business equity, and community engagement. As your Councilwoman, I will continue to support these initiatives and hold our city accountable when we have failed to meet the standards our community has set for us. In addition, I have been an advocate for gender equality in both our Police and Fire Departments and pushed for initiatives to support those efforts.
Fort Worth’s annual general budget is currently around $915 million; do you feel this budget is appropriate, too large, or too small? If too large or too small, briefly describe how you would propose amending the budget.
I believe our current budget is what is required to provide residents a safe, clean, and prosperous place to live. My goal during the budget process is to ensure we are allocating funds that reflect the needs and wants of our residents. As leaders we must be mindful of how each line item impacts our residents tax rate and make informed decisions–this is why I have advocated for a more hands-on approach by council during the budgeting process so that we can ensure we are making the best possible decisions for our residents. I think this year’s budget accomplished a lot and improved the quality of life for our residents to provide a safe and clean city we are all proud to call home–one of the biggest focuses in the upcoming budget should be on investing in initiatives that increase efficiencies throughout the city to lower our operations costs as opposed to adding additional positions to address the concerns.
In 2023 the city will levy a tax rate of $0.7125 per $100 of assessed evaluation. If you would advocate for decreasing/increasing the tax rate what would you cut/add?
I have a 100% voting record of reducing our city’s tax rate, during my first two years on council we have lowered your tax rate by 2.25 cents. As your Councilwoman, I am mindful of the growing property tax burden our residents are facing. I will continue to work with management to increase efficiencies in the city and work to bring outside dollars to the city through state and federal programs, and increased tourism so that Fort Worth can provide the services and amenities our residents desire while continuing to reduce our property tax rate.
As Fort Worth grows, how can the city ensure it keeps up with the pace of development?
Fort Worth is one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the nation–gaining approximately 20,000 people annually. We must ensure that the city is keeping pace with this growth by providing adequate infrastructure to accommodate that growth and keep our residents safe. We need forward thinking leaders to ensure we grow in a way that is smart and preserves our strong sense of community. We have to prioritize a high quality of life for our residents and ensure we have the housing, infrastructure and educational opportunities to ensure Fort Worth remains a great place to live, work, and play.
In the last year, the city council has limited opportunities for public comment and changed meeting schedules. How would you approach community engagement as a council member?
One of our biggest growth opportunities as a city is to improve and enhance our community engagement strategies. Whether it’s providing important information in a format our residents respond to, working to support our neighborhood associations and civic organizations, or providing avenues of engagement appropriate for each neighborhood–we must ensure our residents have access to the information and resources they need. I have pushed city leadership to provide public engagement opportunities so we can listen and understand the community needs and ensure we are effectively communicating with our residents. As your Councilwoman, I advocated for free parking for residents attending council meetings to remove possible barriers to attendance, published a bi-weekly newsletter for District 9 residents, hosted numerous community meetings to address community concerns on issues like West 7th safety, managing zoo traffic, the future of Forest Park Pool, new City Hall sustainability workshop and warrant forgiveness events. I also strive to ensure the District 9 office remains a resource for residents–we are there to timely address your concerns.
What role does the City Council have in policing? Please describe how city council members should work to ensure the safety of their constituents.
It is the Council’s job to ensure we are providing our residents with a highly professional and well-trained police force that is responsive to the unique needs of the different neighborhoods and populations throughout the city. To accomplish that goal, it’s the Council’s responsibility to ensure our officers have the resources they need to be successful, whether that is training, equipment, technology, or the support they need to address the stressors of the job. Council must take a smart-on-crime approach to improve safety, which means supporting our police officers, and investing in projects and programs throughout the city aimed at improving the safety of our neighborhoods and reducing crime. We have seen these types of initiatives provide results— FWPD recently attributed a 13% reduction in violent crime to “using neighborhood cameras that are monitored in the Real Time Crime Center, working with city departments to improve blight and quality of life issues in some of the higher crime neighborhoods, and improving police-community relations, among other things.” As your Councilwoman, I meet with District 9 neighborhood police officers twice a year to ensure they are receiving support from our office to address concerns on their beat.
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy? If so, when.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime, in Texas or another state? If so, what crime and when.
You can find other candidates’ responses by reading our voter guide here. The candidate’s responses may be edited for grammar.