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Fort Worth council OKs federal money reallocation ahead of 2025 budget season

Fort Worth City Council members meet at a May 21, 2024 meeting.
Camilo Diaz
Fort Worth Report
Fort Worth City Council members meet at a May 21, 2024 meeting.

Federal funding timelines may yet be satisfied following Fort Worth’s decision to free up previously allocated American Rescue Plan Act dollars on May 21.

In a unanimous consent agenda vote, City Council approved moving the Texas A&M Innovation Hub and the Evans and Rosedale projects from the ARPA pool of funding to the general fund’s capital project fund. This move frees up $6.5 million in federal funding to be used on projects that meet federal timelines.

“It may be that those projects come through by the end of the year,” said Reginald Zeno, chief financial officer for the city. “This is the safest route.”

ARPA dollars must be committed by 2024 and fully spent by 2026. The city received over $173 million in ARPA funding, of which a majority has already been spent, Zeno said.

Staff first brought this topic to the attention of the council earlier this month, suggesting a reshuffle of federal and local dollars to meet spending deadlines and fill in funding gaps caused by rising costs for projects already started.

How the newly freed-up federal money will be spent has not yet been determined. At the last council work session, staff presented a list of projects that could benefit from the newly available pool of money.

However, several council members expressed concerns about the heavy focus on projects in the northern part of the city.

The Fort Worth Report reached out to city council and did not hear back by publication.

The list of projects previously presented is not yet final, Zeno said. Projects that could qualify for the funding as well as meet spending deadlines will be presented individually to council for approval at subsequent meetings.

Zeno’s office is working with other departments, including the FW Lab and Transportation and Public Works, to determine which projects qualify.

The departments have mostly completed their analysis of the projects that could benefit from the money, hence the recommended list presented earlier this month, he said.

“It’s all centered around shovel-ready capital projects that can meet our deadline to be obligated by the end of the year. That’s ultimately a finite group of projects that fall under that category,” Zeno said.

While the list of underfunded projects is not yet set, council approved an allocation of $515,000 in ARPA funds to cover increased construction costs for the intersection improvements as part of the North Beach Street and Western Center Boulevard Highway Safety Improvement project.

The project looks to rebuild the eastbound and westbound traffic signals at the intersection of North Beach Street and Western Center Boulevard, adding a separate right-turn lane for westbound traffic, and improving pedestrian facilities to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

A majority of the funding for the project comes from the 2022 bond.

The city is currently working on its 2025 budget. Goals were set in February and look to increase the general fund budget by 3.5%,according to previous Fort Worth Report reporting. That would allow the city to spend over $1 billion over the course of 2025 — $35 million more than this year’s budget.

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at or @ssadek19

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policyhere.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.