Last week, we asked Fort Worth residents to submit any and all questions about Fort Worth’s upcoming fiscal year 2024 budget. 

The Fort Worth Report has written extensively about the upcoming budget already, but engaging with Fort Worth and Tarrant County residents is the foundation of our mission. We want to make sure that our coverage addresses the things that are most important to you.

Of course, Fort Worth residents delivered by submitting thoughtful, in-depth questions. We pulled some of the best ones to answer publicly, and will answer them in two articles. If you still have lingering questions, feel free to submit them here. We want to continue to allow readers’ input to shape our coverage. 

What is being discussed? 

One resident, who chose to remain anonymous, asked: “How can we figure out what options are being discussed? It’s probably too late to bring a new topic up, but we might still be able to influence something already being debated.”

City council spent last Thursday debating and discussing some of the newest funding options in the 2024 budget. The purpose of the meeting was to explain what the city would have to give up to achieve a lower tax rate. 

By the end of the meeting most council members agreed, the higher tax rate is worth the city services it will provide. However, the meeting also gave residents a peek at what’s up for discussion among council members. Here’s what they talked about: 

Also up for discussion are new fees for city services, including water, stormwater and solid waste. You can read more about the new fee schedule and how it will impact your monthly costs here

If you’re still hungry for more information, you can read more about the budget here:

How does the city fund mowing and maintenance

Peggy Terrell asked how much the city plans to spend on edging and mowing grass around sidewalks. Bridge Street in east Fort Worth near East Regional Library is especially overgrown, she said. 

The Parks and Recreation department doesn’t just maintain parks. The department also is responsible for maintaining right of ways, medians and city facilities such as libraries, police stations and office buildings. The good news for Terrell is that the city plans to spend about $3.67 million more next year on mowing. 

If you notice that a right of way near your home is especially overgrown, you can always report it through the city’s call center or the MyFW app

Terrell also is concerned about how the city keeps up its other assets, including the West 7th bridge near downtown, which is supposed to light up nightly but lately has remained dark. 

“We have great ideas but don’t think about maintenance,” she said. “As our city grows, we have to repair things and keep them up to date.”

More funding for animal control? 

Another resident  wants to know what department handles animal control. She’s noticed a lot of stray animals on Fort Worth’s streets, she said. 

“The community does what they can to help, but if we had more professionals to help it would be nice,” Melton said. 

Animal control actually falls under the code compliance department; its budget will increase by about $3.3 million in 2024. That includes about $220,295 for new animal control staff, two vet techs, and one volunteer coordinator. 

The code compliance department administers the city’s animal welfare division which, along with responding to stray animal reports, deals with hazardous or ill wildlife, animal cruelty complaints, bite investigations and administers the city’s animal shelter and spay/neuter clinic. 

In all, the animal welfare division’s budget will increase by about $574,000. 

The department also depends heavily on support from volunteers and money from private donations, shelter fees and partnerships with adoption programs, according to the city’s budget book. 

The number of stray animals in Fort Worth is increasing. Residents can help with animal welfare efforts by reporting strays through the MyFW app or call center. 

Police and homelessness in north Fort Worth

Kris Kittle asked about two items in the budget, increasing police representation in north Fort Worth and how the city plans to invest more in homeless services. 

The police department’s budget is the largest among all city departments; they expect to spend $321.3 million in fiscal year 2024, a 7.6% increase from fiscal year 2023. Now, the north division has 10 vacant patrol officer positions, about 14% of the division’s allocated staff. The city plans to possibly increase patrols in North Fort Worth by five, possibly increasing the number of officers patrolling to 76, the lowest number among the city’s six divisions. Those priorities could change based on demand. 

In total, the city’s patrol division will increase by 21 sworn officers. 

To increase recruitment and retention, the police department is also planning to spend money to create a dedicated recruiting team, improve the academy’s training schedule and add more officer wellness programs. 

The city also plans to spend $8.7 million more in the neighborhood services department, which houses the city’s homelessness services program Directions Home. The city will expand its Homeless Rapid Exit Program, which falls under Directions Home, by about $500,000 on top of the program’s existing $3 million budget. 

Directions Home isn’t the only team receiving more money for its programs addressing homelessness. The Code Compliance department will receive about $583,000 to add three officers and new equipment to their homelessness outreach team, which helps to address camps of the unhoused. The police department will get two new officers for its HOPE team, costing the city about $433,000. 

Kittle asked for the city to invest more in patrols in north Fort Worth and more money to expand emergency homeless shelters. The city should not budget additional funds to annex more land, Kittle added. 

“We already don’t have enough police, fire, ambulance, and code enforcement resources as it is,” Kittle said. “If you can’t provide the amenities and services for the population you already have, maybe you should not expand your area.”

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at 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.

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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...