Andrew Tanielian, Fort Worth Reporter
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price held her first State of the City address Thursday. The American Airlines facility at Alliance Airport and the city's pension fund quickly became the focus.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price talked about the city's hopes for saving jobs American Airlines is planning to cut and the city's pension fund.
Price used a question-and-answer format for her first State of the City address. She answered questions submitted by the community for about an hour on topics such as how to bring new life to the American Airlines facility at Fort Worth Alliance Airport.
"There is already as much interest in the facility at Alliance, and there will be a lot of things coming forward," she said. "It's a great facility for wide-body planes, modern planes, and I believe we can work with Judy McDonnell and Workforce Solutions to retrain many of these people. We are committed to keeping those jobs here."
The city also plans to ask the companies that American Airlines hires for outsourcing to employ the laid-off workers.
"We're meeting with the union leaders," Price said. "We've been closely following the bankruptcy. The airport is looking at expansion there. We are out actively looking for companies that will potentially be outsourcing companies for American and for other airlines and trying to recruit them. We're going to put that facility to good use for the taxpayers."
The mayor also addressed Fort Worth's city pensions.
The mayor quoted a 2010 report from the Economic Policy Journal and Business Insider that labels Fort Worth's pension fund as the 10th-largest city fund in danger of going bankrupt. The report said it would be empty in 11 years.
"We're in the middle of discussion on meet and confer with police," she said. "We have fire coming up. We have to keep that board working towards keeping the pensions stable. The council has to be willing to make tough choices."
She suggested transitioning to a two-tier pension system like Dallas and Houston.
Price also touched on the Fort Worth's $45 million shortfall and said her staff is taking a close look at the city's budget.
She said she plans on reaching out to the community to help decide what programs or services to cut if cuts are necessary.