Dear Tarrant County commissioners,

I was pleased to learn that you have proposed a tax rate for 2021 that is slightly below the “no new revenue rate.” I’ve been attending tax rate hearings for years, begging you to do just that, so thank you!  It’s only “slightly” below, but it is below. You finally did it!

HOWEVER, I was then not so pleased to learn that although the proposed budget represents a slight decrease from last year’s budget, it does include a 3 percent pay INCREASE for Judge Whitley, all the commissioners, and all elected county officials.

I was astonished several years ago when I learned that we are paying our county commissioners and judge nearly $183,000, particularly when compared to the governor of the State of Texas, who earns about $150,000; or the Fort Worth City Council and mayor, who earn less than $30,000.

But to vote yourselves a 3 percent raise in 2020, when YOUR executive orders have closed businesses, caused people to lose jobs, put large numbers of people on unemployment and other government subsidies, and generally caused an economic disaster in Tarrant County is absolutely unconscionable. You ought to be reducing your pay, not increasing it at a time like this, and reducing the tax rate and budget even further. Taxpayers have long suffered from unreasonably high property taxes, and now, when you finally adopt something below the no new revenue rate, you include a pay raise for yourselves. It literally boggles my mind!

Shame on anyone who votes for this pay increase! Shame on all of you for even suggesting it at a time like this.

Please be assured that I will be encouraging all of my grassroots colleagues in Tarrant County to rise up and protest this budget with this pay increase included. And also, be assured that whether or not this budget passes, I will also be mobilizing all of my grassroots colleagues in Tarrant County to vote AGAINST any member of this commissioners court who votes for the budget adoption the next time they are on the ballot.

Your neighboring county commissioners in Dallas proposed a 2 percent pay increase and pulled it back after public outcry. You still have the chance to do the right thing. Please, for the good of the citizens of Tarrant County, just do it!

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Fran Rhodes

Fran Rhodes is a resident of Fort Worth and Keller ISD and has been actively involved in local community affairs since 2010. Fran is president of True Texas Project.