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City Council previews new priority-based budget process, goals to improve quality of life

The Fort Worth City Hall is located at 200 Texas St.
Rodger Mallison
Fort Worth Report
The Fort Worth City Hall is located at 200 Texas St.

While next year’s budget is more than six months from completion, Fort Worth City Council members met to discuss next year’s goals as the city implements a new strategy for forming its annual budget.

At their annual goal-setting retreat Tuesday, council members said they were focused on improving residents’ quality of life through:

  • Encouraging economic development
  • Investing in communities and their safety
  • Improving infrastructure and growing responsibly 

All of these goals are bolstered by a commitment to fiscal responsibility, according to council members. More specific action items fall underneath those umbrella terms. For example, one of the goals related to economic development is attracting and retaining corporations and jobs.
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City leadership plans to use a new method to form its annual budget. The process beganlast year, when three departments started implementing a strategy that aims to take the priorities identified by council members and use them as a framework for the upcoming budget. Every expenditure will be tied back to those priorities.

Council members heard from Chris Fabian, senior director of product strategy at Tyler Technologies. He has worked with other cities including Pittsburg that have used priority-based budgeting and illustrated how city leaders make decisions on which programs to fund based on how closely they align with council priorities.

Council members also discussed past accomplishments in several priority categories from the previous budget cycle, including economic development and community investment, community safety, infrastructure, responsible growth and fiscal responsibility.

Timely news items made their way into the council’s discussion of public safety, including concerns about pedestrian safety in school zones and an uptick in dog bites caused by loose dogs.

“Whatever resources we need to have to make sure our public is safe, I think that’s important,” Macy Hill, who represents parts of northwest Fort Worth, said.

Council members also heard a presentation on the fiscal health of the city. In addition to discussing the fiscal year 2025 budget, they will consider which larger projects will be funded by the 2026 bond project.

Fort Worth residents vote on bond programs every four years. Municipal bonds are debt securities issued by cities and the primary way Fort Worth funds capital improvements, separate from its annual budgeting process.

Next year’s budget could be affected by the city’s decisions on its EMS system, cast-iron pipe replacements and adjustments in employee salaries.

The city of Fort Worth generally receives high credit ratings from rating agencies, City Manager David Cooke said.

The final priorities used to form the budget will include district-specific priorities outside of the citywide goals adopted by the full council.

Still to be determined is how the city plans to measure the success of using these priorities, said Hilary Shine, a senior vice president at Strategic Government Resources, a consulting firm based in Keller.

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or via X.

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