Fort Worth residents to vote on salary increase for city council

By Tori Knox

The May 7 charter election will include a proposition to increase the salary of the Fort Worth mayor and council members.
Proposition 3 would increase council members’ pay from $25,000 to $45,000, and the mayor’s salary from $29,000 to $60,000, according to the City Charter Review Task Force’s recommendations.
The City Charter Review Task Force was established to find recommendations to the existing charter. The recommendations include increasing the number of council members, increasing terms of office and increasing the council members’ salary.
The task force compared multiple cities that are similar in population and government including Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Kansas City and Oklahoma City, said Mary Kayser, city secretary of Fort Worth.
If Fort Worth residents vote in favor of Proposition 3 on May 7, the increased salaries will take effect Oct. 1, 2016, according to the task force’s proposal.
Kayser said the salaries of the council members and the mayor come from Fort Worth’s general fund.
“If this passes it will be wrapped into the fiscal year 2017 budget,” said Kayser.
Mattie Parker, chief of staff for the mayor and city council of Fort Worth, said the budget will come to council in August. If Proposition 3 passes, the increased salaries will be planned for.
According to Fort Worth’s fund statement, the largest percentage of the general fund comes from property taxes; however, Kayser said there will be no tax increase.
“The city manager has already said there will not be a tax increase this year for any reason,” said Kayser.
When compensation for the council began in 1989, council members were given $75 for each regular council meeting but could not exceed $3,900 a year, said Kayser.
In 2006, the council members’ compensation was increased to their current salary, Kayser said.
Parker said the increased salary could result in a more diverse council.
“You don’t want to create a position where only the independently wealthy can serve,” said Parker.