City Manager David Cooke proposed a tax rate at a Fort Worth City Council work session this week that is two cents lower than the current rate — $0.7125 instead of $0.7325 per $100 of taxable value.
According to a press release, Cooke believes “[t]he reduction is needed to help residents achieve an affordable lifestyle as consumer prices continue to rise.”
However, the no-new-revenue rate under which property owners would see no property tax bill increase is $0.666876. According to the Texas Comptroller’s office, the no-new-revenue rate produces the same amount of taxes if applied to the same properties taxed in both years.
The value of taxable properties within the city increased by 14.5 percent, from about $87 billion to over $100 billion. Of that increase, $2.8 billion or 3.1 percent is attributable to new construction.
A homeowner in a property valued at $200,000 will be liable for $1,425 in city property taxes before any exemptions are applied, according to official documents.
Property tax collections will account for the lion’s share of revenue supporting the city’s budget, but sales tax revenues are also projected to increase by 16 percent.
The recommended general operating budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 is likely to increase by 10 percent over the FY 2022 adopted budget, adding about $83.4 million. The city manager is recommending a general operating budget totaling over $915 million; the overall budget will top $2.3 billion.
“It is one of the largest increases in recent years, but needed to keep up with growth and maintaining infrastructure,” Cooke said.
Fort Worth is the third fastest-growing and the 13th largest city in the country, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data.
The city already apportions the largest percentage of its budget to the police department. It will increase the police budget by almost 6 percent, or $16 million, to help pay for 71 new positions, including 45 new officers.
Other increases include an additional $17.6 million to fire services and $17.8 million to transportation and public works.
The city proposes tripling its monthly environmental service fee from $0.50 to $1.50 in order “to put more money behind litter cleanup and illegal dumping enforcement.”
Fort Worth will hold multiple public meetings to receive public feedback about the budget before it is expected to be adopted along with the tax rate on September 27. A list of those meeting times and locations can be found at the city’s website.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.