Fort Worth City Councilman Brian Byrd, who has voted for every increase in homeowners’ city property tax bills since being elected in 2017, is rumored to be considering a run to represent the 12th Congressional District—a position held by U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) since 1997.

Elected in May of 2017, Byrd unseated then-councilman W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman on a platform of addressing rising property tax bills. Since being elected, Byrd voted for all three increases in the average homeowner’s city property tax bills that came before him.

He also voted to increase spending in the fiscal year 2018 and 2019 budgets. The 2019 budget hiked spending 11 percent from 2017—an increase of over $72 million.

Fort Worth District 4 Councilman Cary Moon was the lone vote against the most recent tax hike this September.

Since 2017, according to data from the Tarrant Appraisal District, the average Fort Worth homeowner’s city tax bill rose over 11 percent, from $1,073 to $1,193.

Byrd did vote against this year’s proposed budget but went out of his way to state he was not opposed to the latest property tax hike. “Not [against] the tax rate, Mayor, just the budget,” he said at the September 17 meeting.

Granger, the incumbent, has used her position in Congress to secure federal taxpayer money for a real estate redevelopment project disguised as flood control. Her son, J.D. Granger—one of the bureaucrats overseeing the Panther Island project—colluded with Jim Oliver, general manager of the Tarrant Regional Water District, to keep board members in the dark about the project. A programmatic review also found that, after 16 years and over $383 million of taxpayer money spent, no phase of construction has been completed. The Trump administration pulled federal funding from Panther Island last year and allegedly wants J.D. Granger fired.

Granger is already being challenged in the Republican primary by former Colleyville City Councilman Chris Putnam. Putnam led a citizen reform team that succeeded in taking over the city council and implementing major pro-taxpayer initiatives that included ethics reforms and term limits. Putnam says he wants to do the same things at the national level.

The candidate filing period for the March 2020 primary is November 9 through December 9. Fort Worth City Council members, according to the Chapter 3, Section 8 of the city charter, “shall forfeit his place in the council; but shall continue to hold the office until a successor is duly qualified in cases in which such holdover is required by state law.”

Information in this article has been updated since publication. 

Robert Montoya

A former filmmaker, University of North Texas graduate, and one-time assistant language teacher, Robert Montoya misses Japan and the 1980s. He is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard.

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