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Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price Delivers State of the City

Mayor Betsy Price delivered her 8th annual State of the City Address before 1,300 business and community leaders at a sold-out luncheon Tuesday.

Price was interviewed about the city's financial health, economic development updates, education initiatives, Race & Culture task force recommendations, neighborhood improvements, mobility advancements, and economic opportunities for all.

The mayor spoke of the city’s accomplishments over the past year and the challenges ahead. Perhaps most notably at the moment: fixing the $1.6 billion shortfall in the city’s pension fund for employees and retirees.

Under the city’s proposal, current employees would have to agree to increase their contribution into the fund.

Voting is underway this week and ends Friday.

"I feel good about this vote," she told the crowd on Tuesday. "And if that happens, and I feel certain it will, Fort Worth will be the largest city to settle it locally," Price said.

If the plan does not get a little over 50 percent 'Yes' votes, Price said, "if it doesn't we'll have to come back to the table, look at what we're going to do."

Another ongoing challenge for Fort Worth is improving race relations.

A Race and Culture Task Force met for 18 months and recently brought forward a long list of recommendations to tackle issues like poverty, housing and education.

"Tough conversations on what needed to change in Fort Worth," said Price, of the task force.

Price said she is ready for the city to pay at least $3 million to carry out the recommendations.

"Is it a perfect report? Probably not," she said. "There are those who disagree with our method that we didn't listen to this and that. But it's a great start."

When it comes to transportation, Price announced there is relief in sight for the last leg of the North Tarrant Express Project from U.S. Highway 287 to Alliance Airport.

"That's a big win," she said.

Price expects TxDOT to approve funding by month's end.

"And we're pleased with that because that really gets us nearly into Denton," said Price.

On the education front, Price said the city is closer to meeting a goal of ensuring all 3rd grade students in the district read at grade level by 2025.

Price also said the city will soon announce a new initiative to offer reduced-cost childcare for city employees.

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