Fort Worth council considering new funding districts for large-scale projects

The Fort Worth City Council is considering a policy that would allow developers to apply to create special funding districts which would help pay for large-scale projects.

The district, known as a “capital public improvement district (PID),” has the city issue debt that property owners pay off with a special assessment on their property taxes. Fort Worth hasn’t used capital PIDs before, but Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa told the city council on Aug. 23 that having a capital PID policy could be helpful when large projects come to the city in the future.

“Even though we haven’t used it to date, we do believe that it’s a tool that could be utilized to further our goals as a city for development, especially if we want to have large development occur,” Chapa said.

The policy consideration comes as developers for two projects – Walsh Ranch in west Fort Worth north of Interstate 30, and Rock Creek Ranch in southwest Fort Worth near Chisholm Trail Parkway – are requesting the use of capital PIDs to help pay for infrastructure work.

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The proposal for Walsh Ranch is to create a 1,700-acre PID, with the city issuing $30 million in PID bonds to be paid off in 30 years. The proposed assessment for the district is 18 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

The proposal for Rock Creek Ranch, which will include the new Tarleton State University campus, is to create a 1,500-acre PID, with the city issuing $13 million in PID bonds to be paid off in 30 years. The proposed assessment for this district is 4 to 10 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

Chapa said city staff recommends that the city council approve the two PID requests by Oct. 1 and later create a PID policy for future projects. Some proposals for the PID policy include a $35,000 application fee and a requirement that a project be 1,500 acres or bigger.

Councilman Jungus Jordan expressed support for the policy.

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“It is a tool that, through process, effectively promotes high-quality development,” he said.

The city already uses PIDs for smaller projects, with eight districts in areas like downtown, Camp Bowie and the Stockyards.