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“Thanks to everyone who voted on the 2014 bond election. Your voice does make a difference! Now, let’s get moving on using these bonds to fund needed improvements to our streets, parks and other facilities—the basic services we need to improve our quality of life, attract new business and keep Fort Worth the best city in Texas.”
Mayor Betsy Price
The ‘to-do’ list to keep Fort Worth moving forward
My, the past two years have been a whirlwind, but it’s been a great honor to serve my hometown as your mayor. Together — with you, our business community, city staff and my fellow council members — we accomplished a lot:
- We secured the city’s pension fund.
- We leveraged local funds with private investment to stretch your hard earned tax dollars.
- We lowered crime through intelligent and community policing.
- We raised the bar on reaching out to neighborhoods and engaging citizens in meaningful conversations about addressing challenges and seizing opportunities.
- We made headway in breaking down silos and making government work faster and smarter.
- We remained steadfast in our efforts to give citizens more options when it comes to transportation.
- And, we have our whole community thinking about how to lead more active and healthy lifestyles.
But, if you know me, you know that I don’t plan to slow down. I’m energized, and much work remains if we are to leave Fort Worth better than we found it. So, here are a few of the things on our to-do-list over the next two years.
1. Get the city’s budget back in check
It’s time for city management and the City Council to make the tough decisions to bring expenses in line with revenues. It won’t be easy. But, if we muster the political will to get over this hump in the fall, I believe Fort Worth can look ahead with a bright future where we can invest in our community needs and priorities. Stay tuned, as we will soon ask all citizens to share their thoughts on their vision for the FY 2014 city budget.
2. Implement bold strategies to improve customer service and promote civic engagement
Your City Council is committed to more efficient, smarter government, and we plan to continue our effort to consolidate the city’s various call centers to a single, convenient customer service model. We must also retool Fort Worth’s website to deliver expanded services and mobile capability. Instead of getting in line at city hall or municipal court, we should allow citizens to get online to take care of business. We must also create a single, comprehensive public engagement strategy that allows all citizens to provide meaningful input on everyday services or special initiatives. And, Fort Worth must make public information and other public data readily available, and accessible to citizens and civic entrepreneurs.
3. Improve mobility
We’ve made progress to move on streets and other projects from previous bond programs. Dirt is also flying on major improvements to our highway network, including I-35, northeast Loop 820 and Chisholm Trail Parkway in southwest Fort Worth. Yes, the construction is frustrating, but it will get better in 2014 and beyond.
However, we can’t continue to just pour more concrete for more cars and trucks. We must give serious attention to other transportation options. The City Council sent a strong message in support of future commuter rail and bus service with the overhaul of The T Board several months ago. We expect the new board and The T staff to deliver on the promise to open the next leg of commuter rail service (connecting downtown to DFW Airport) by 2016. And, that should be just the beginning.
We will also continue to encourage reinvestment in our central city to slow urban sprawl, slow our growing infrastructure costs and give citizens new options to live closer to work or school, which takes cars off our congested highways and reduces long commutes. As we develop our urban centers, we will continue to add other transportation options like convenient bus transit, bike sharing, safe pedestrian and bicycle paths and more.
4. Maintain our momentum with a new bond program in 2014
We’ve broken the logjam of major infrastructure projects, and the money from previous bond programs is all but spent. It’s time for the city to go back to citizens and ask how they would like to spend the next $250-$275 million in bond program funds. This includes streets, parks and other city facilities and infrastructure. We anticipate this bond program to go to citizens for a vote in May of 2014, but not without significant input from you. Stay posted and watch how you can shape the project list for the next several years.
5. Develop a sustainable water strategy
We should have a serious conversation about how we ensure future generations have the same access to water as we do. Water is a tough challenge that requires us to think 30 to 50 years ahead. Building more pipelines and more lakes is extraordinarily expensive and takes years of planning, design and construction — not to mention the property disputes that come with such major public projects. Water is relatively inexpensive today, and it’s easy to forget about the expense and complexities of making sure water comes out of that faucet when you turn the knob.
Instead of going in and out of various water restrictions, I believe we can do a better job in adopting a long-term solution to conserve water today so our children and our grandchildren enjoy the same opportunities and we have today. It may cost us a little more upfront, and it may require us to change some of our habits, but if we don’t get serious about water today, current and future generations will pay dearly.
6. Promote a fit city
We’ve made great strides in promoting the importance of health, active lifestyles over the last two years. Businesses, schools and neighborhood are getting involved. We’ll keep walking and cycling in neighborhoods. And, we will soon roll out a new website to encourage residents to set personal wellness and fitness goals. I believe we can build a city where people live healthier, longer lives. Being well-known as a fit city will go a long way to continue our progress to attract new businesses and jobs to Fort Worth.
Along with the staples of any strong city — public safety, quality education, code compliance, libraries, parks and other services — my focus over the next two years will be fiscal accountability, customer service and civic engagement, mobility, infrastructure, water, health and wellness …
That’s my bucket list, but I want to hear about yours. It’s your Fort Worth, and I want to know your thoughts on where our focus should be. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter. You can also call my office at 817-392-6118.
I want to thank my City Council colleagues for the important work they are doing to make every section of our city a better place to live, work and play. They are fantastic partners. And, I thank my family, friends, and the citizens of Fort Worth for allowing me to do what I love-serve my hometown.
Let’s continue to talk and work together to ensure Fort Worth’s rightful place at the top of this list of the greatest cities on earth!
Fort Worth Bike Sharing Kickoff
ScottsMiracle-Gro Gro1000 Event
Thank you to ScottsMiracle-Gro for their generous donation to open the Fort Worth Children’s Vegetable Garden!
Susan G. Komen Tailgate Contest
Mayor Price and her husband at the For the Love of Betsy Fundraiser
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Mayor Price Will Seek Re-election
Snowball Express 2012
Marine Park Pool Groundbreaking
Brighter Outlook Back to School Party
Event: Tarrant County Back2School Roundup Kick Off!
Event: FWPD Class 130 Graduation
Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center School Visit
Event: Tour de Fort Worth from the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel
Event: Memorial Day at Mount Olivet Cemetery
Event: Frank Kent Honda Words for Wheels Winners
FWISD School Visits – Trimble Tech & Daggett Montessori
Event: United Way Wild About Reading
Event: Tour de Fort Worth First Ride 2012
Event: 2012 Cowtown Marathon
Event: July 8, 2011 Friday Night Drags at Texas Motor Speedway