The City of Fort Worth is trying a cunning strategy to deceive its residents. It involves telling the citizens the proposed tax rate is much lower than what the city can, and more than likely, will adopt. We should expect our local governments to be upfront and honest with us, even when they know we will not like what they are proposing.

The city manager released the 2019 budget this week for the City of Fort Worth. In the budget, the city manager issued a proposed tax rate of $0.785/$100 of property valuation. This is nearly the effective tax rate of $0.782/$100 of property valuation. After having had many years of the city not even being close to the effective tax rate, one could call this a positive step in the right direction. However, the council passed a resolution stating they could adopt a rate of up to $0.805, a full $0.02 higher than the supposedly proposed tax rate.

I was confused by both tax rates being in the 2019 budget. Immediately, I took to Facebook for clarification from my elected council member and one other. My council member never replied but Cary Moon, the Council Member of District 4, did. He said, “The City Manager goal, which I do not like, is to provide last-minute considerations to increase rate above $.785…” Call me simple-minded but if a city has a budget process, shouldn’t it clearly include everything in the proposed budget?

The way Fort Worth is conducting business is misleading and disrespectful to its citizens. They have issued public notices on hearings to discuss the budget; however, that budget might not be the budget that is eventually voted on. Even more concerning is the fact that the tax rate they are showing the public might not be the final tax rate they adopt. How can the citizens of Fort Worth provide accurate feedback when the city cannot provide accurate numbers?

This is nothing but a deceitful tactic that the city is using to combat activists and concerned citizens in Fort Worth. Myself, along with others, spoke out last year against the rise in property taxes, and I cannot help but wonder if the city is using this scheme to limit those speeches. The city is telling us to watch the left hand, while the right hand takes more money out of our pocket.

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Matthew Spano

Matthew Spano, a Texas Torchbearer, is a small business owner and political activist from Fort Worth. He is married to his wife, Kristina, they have two children.