Fort Worth’s public hearing on its annual budget and tax rate is Sept. 12 and 19. But residents who want to have an impact on the city’s budget, need to make their voices heard earlier. 

Public meetings on Fort Worth’s budget have been underway since Aug. 16, and public hearings on the numbers — including the tax rate — are scheduled for Sept. 12 and 19. But residents interested in having their say on the bottom line still have opportunities to learn more and submit comments to their council members either online or by speaking at budget meetings scheduled before the vote on Sep. 19. 

The next budget work session is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 7. This meeting will include time for the city council to discuss the proposed tax rate and propose changes to the 2024 budget. The meeting is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 8. 

Residents can submit their comments on the budget via email or in-person at District-specific budget talks. You can find out what district you live in here

Here’s the schedule for the remaining district budget talks: 

  • District 7 Budget Talk: 6 p.m., Sept. 6 at Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 1700 University Drive
  • District 8 Budget Talk: 6 p.m., Sept. 7 at William M. McDonald YMCA, 2701 Moresby St.
  • District 5 Budget Talk: 1 p.m., Sept. 9 at Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St.
  • District 7 Budget Talk: 6 p.m., Sept. 11 at Boswell High School Kirk Watson Lecture Hall, 5805 W. Bailey Boswell Rd.
  • District 11 Budget Talk: 6 p.m., Sept. 13 at Riverside Community Center, 3700 E. Belknap St.
  • District 2 Budget Talk: 6 p.m., Sept. 14 at Northside Community Center, 1100 N.W. 18th St.
  • District 6 Budget Talk: 6 p.m., Sept. 18 at Chisholm Trail Community Center, 4300 McPherson Blvd.

The Fort Worth Report understands that to comment on the budget, you need to understand it. So here’s a primer on what you need to know. 

This year, the proposed tax rate is lower than in previous years. Still, taxpayers likely will pay more and the city will collect more tax revenue. To collect less revenue, the city would need to adopt a no-new-revenue rate ensuring the city does not capture any additional property tax revenue. Tarrant County recently proposed a tax rate lower than the no-new-revenue rate. 

The budget is split into parts, the most malleable is the general fund. That pool of dollars gets its funding primarily from property and sales taxes. The general fund is then split further: Operations and Maintenance, which funds all of the departments that keep the city running, and PAYGO, which funds the capital projects needed to improve the city’s infrastructure. 

To reduce the county’s tax rate or increase funding for things like parks, road improvements and housing, the city council will need to manage the general fund. This year, the general fund will be spent primarily on fire and police. Here’s a full breakdown of the proposed allocations: 

Most of the department’s budgets are increasing compared with last year. Rarely are specific projects outlined in the budget itself. That information is explained in the various budget presentations spaced out over August and September. You can review those presentations here. If residents have a particular concern, their council member may be able to ensure funding for that project is included in the department’s annual budget. 

Also included in the budget is a schedule of fees to provide water, sewer, stormwater and solid water utilities. Those fees, except parking, also will increase in 2024. The city uses those fees both to deliver municipal services and capital improvements to improve utility infrastructure. 

Now that you know more about the budget, we want to hear from you. Please submit all comments and questions below.

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Engaging with Fort Worth and Tarrant County residents is the foundation of the Fort Worth Report’s mission. As a member-sustained, nonprofit organization we seek to serve our readers with the information they need to make informed decisions and navigate their community. To this end, the Report wants to hear from you about Fort Worth’s budget.

Here’s how it will work: You will submit a question or comment about the budget and our reporters will work to get that question answered or follow-up on your comments with the city. A good example of a question is: Will this year’s budget include more money for the park near my home (Sycamore Park)? Then, we will reach out to you and let you know that your question was answered in a story.

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Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report in collaboration with KERA. She is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where she majored in Journalism and Political...