September 21, 2010 · Filed Under Events and News 

Source: The City of Fort Worth

Budget Facts: Recommended Budget, FY2011

After months of careful study of the City Manager’s proposed budget, the Fort WorthCity Council is set to consider the city’s budget for fiscal year 2011. The recommended budget totals $1.3 billion. Although the City Council has made several changes to the recommended budget to minimize the impact to residents and businesses, some program and service reductions will occur as a result of closing the $73 million funding shortfall in the city’s $530 million General Fund (operating fund).

The budget the City Council will consider at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, focuses on sustainable solutions to current challenges with no increase to the property tax rate.

Service Restorations

Several program and service reductions originally included in the City Manager’s initial budget recommendation have been restored:

  • Restored 36 vacant fire department positions and removed recommendation to deactivate some fire companies
  • Citywide mowing programs restored (28-day mowing cycle)
  • All libraries will remain open pending a 6 month review of library services
  • Consolidation of Parks and Library departments delayed pending a committee review
  • Partial funding for Directions Home homelessness prevention program restored
  • Funding for Capital Improvement Program and arterial streets increased

Cost Reductions

Departmental Reductions/Consolidations

The following is a brief sampling of some of the departmental cost reductions and consolidations.

  • Public Safety cost reductions:
    • Freeze 36 vacant police officer positions
  • Other Departments cost reductions:
    • Close Forest Park Pool
    • Reduce maintenance at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden
    • Reduce Consumer Health inspections
  • Environmental Management services redistributed
    • Environmental Services transferred to Transportation and Public Works
    • Solid Waste transferred to Code Compliance
  • Community Relations services redistributed
    • Human Relations Commission staff support transferred to City Manager’s Office
    • Communications transferred to City Manager’s Office
    • Neighborhood Education program transferred to Planning and Development
    • Early Childhood Matters program transferred to Library
  • Non-departmental programs:
    • Maintain funding for the arts, but reduce to $716,000
    • Eliminate subsidy for Ambulance Authority
  • City jobs eliminated
    • 165 positions cut (91 filled, 74 vacant)

Health care and Pension Benefits

The costs associated with health care and pension benefits for city employees continue to have a significant impact on the city’s budget.

  • The city will establish a 20-year plan to fund retiree healthcare benefits for those hired before Jan. 1, 2009. There are no recommended changes to healthcare benefits for current and future retirees (hired before Jan.1, 2009).
  • The city will increase its contribution to the pension fund by 4% and offer new hires the option of designating a survivor (which may be a domestic partner) to receive benefits. Additionally, employees will have the opportunity to vote to increase their contribution to the pension fund by 1 or 2 percent. Those who elected to receive an Ad Hoc Cost of Living (COLA) increase during retirement will also have the opportunity to switch back to the guaranteed 2 percent COLA.
  • Staff recommended that the city reduce pension costs by implementing a Cash Balance benefit for new hires. The City Council asked for further review of this recommendation before finalizing a decision. The Cash Balance proposal will be discussed in more detail in the coming months and will have no impact on the FY2011 budget.

Revenue Enhancements

Gas Well Revenues

Rescind the policy restriction of ad valorem taxes on mineral values (bonus and royalty payments from city property still reserved for capital needs) and use these funds for operating expenses. This $6.8 million would be used to support the following current critical needs:

  • Bridge maintenance
  • Street repairs and maintenance
  • Alleyway cleaning
  • Graffiti abatement
  • Student attendance court
  • Gang intervention
  • Community center operations

Excess Fund Balance

Use a portion of the money ($21 million) in excess of minimum savings limit in General Fund and Worker’s Compensation Fund to restore critical city services and increase debt capacity to help ensure capital projects are completed on time.

Fee Increases

  • Increase monthly water fee an average of 2.54% across all customer classes
  • Increase monthly wastewater fee by 2.23% across all customer classes
  • Increase various Municipal Golf fees
  • Increase multi-family inspection fee by $2
  • Increase monthly Environmental Protection Fund fee by 25 cents (This fund was established to help the city comply with state and federal environmental mandates)

Other Facts

  • Furloughs: the FY2011 Budget includes no furloughs for General Employees, which restores pay to FY2009 levels.
  • Reduction in force: Employees whose position will be eliminated will begin to be notified on September 22. Their employment will end Nov. 5, and they will be given preferential consideration for vacant positions in which they are qualified for one year.
  • FY2010 adopted budget: $1.282 billion (General Fund: $528 million). $59 million Deficit, 205 positions eliminated, incentivized retirements, department consolidations, service reductions, employee benefit reductions. No tax increase.
  • FY2009 adopted budget: $1.255 billion (General Fund: $538 million). $24 million Deficit, 116 positions eliminated, department consolidations, public health services transferred to county, reduced library hours. No tax increase.
  • Number of departments: The FY2011 Budget proposal reduces the number of departments from 22 to 20.
  • Next year’s deficit: If the FY2011 budget is adopted as presented and tax revenues remain flat, city staff estimates a deficit of more than $31 million for the FY2012 budget.


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