The Fort Worth City Council passed the fiscal year 2019 budget at its Tuesday meeting. The $1.91 billion budget includes a decrease in the property tax rate to 78.5 cents per $100, down two cents from last year’s budget, and a decrease for a third consecutive year totaling a five cent drop since 2016.
The overall budget represents an increase of 2.51 percent from the fiscal year 2018 budget. The operating budget of $1.72 billion, is up 3.6 percent from last year. Even though the property tax rate will decrease, the city will see higher revenues because of increases in property valuations over the past several years.
“I would have liked to have seen us lower the tax rate five cents, but (City Manager) David Cooke and his staff did a Herculean effort,” District 6 Councilman Jungus Jordan said. “I think it’s a responsible budget. We are inching our way to where we’re not going to be biggest tax-rated city [in Texas].
“I think this budget gives us the ability to handle the challenges we face as a growing city.”
Texas, as a whole, has some of the highest property tax rates in the nation, about a third higher than the national average.
Cooke, in a message to council, wrote: “For a third consecutive year, the city’s economic outlook remains positive – from improvements in local job growth and sales tax collections to increases in residential and commercial values and new construction.”
Despite the property tax decrease, city officials say the budget will raise more total property tax revenue than last year’s budget, including around $16.4 million from new property added to the tax roll this year.
“As one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, as well as one of the most livable communities, we believe the future is bright for the City of Fort Worth,” Cooke continued. “We expect that job growth will continue and people will continue to move to Fort Worth.”