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Saturday, March 6, 2021

City Council: Fort Worth revamping tax abatement policy

The Fort Worth City Council, in its June 5 work session, received an update from Economic Development Director Robert Sturns on the creation of a new tax abatement policy. No date has been announced for the new policy, which will replace the one that expires later this month.

The city can grant a tax abatement (break) on a particular property attached to specific development projects that meet the eligibility requirements set forth in the policy. In order for the city to participate, they are required to establish guidelines and criteria that are effective for two years from the date of adoption.

The current policy was approved on June 28, 2016 and expires on June 27 of this year. The economic development department has been developing a comprehensive incentive strategy designed to address specific gaps in incentive proposals and address issues outlined in the strategic plan, including:

• Attracting high wage job growth.

• Developing a more sustainable tax base, driven less by residential property and more by commercial and industrial development.

• Capitalizing on high growth business.

• Enhancing quality of place throughout the community.

The department is currently taking feedback from community stakeholders as it works to finalize the strategy.

The city will still have the ability to utilize Chapter 380 Economic Development Program grants for development projects during this period.

“Our strategic plan, presented in December, outlined that we needed to be much more strategic in our economic development efforts,” Sturns said. “The staff has been working on a complete overhaul of our incentive programs, but we need more time to vet any proposals with both our external and internal partners.

“Instead of adopting a policy that does not get us where we really want to go, we are choosing to delay the approval until later in the year.”

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