FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price gave her second State of the City Address Tuesday morning. During the speech she told more than 1,000 business and community leaders that she’s going to slash the budget so the city can finally operate without deficits.
“There are bold decisions to be made in 2014 on the budget,” Mayor Price told the group. “Our current budget is simply not sustainable. We’ll be asking a lot of you as citizens and a lot of our employees.”
All city departments, including police, are being asked to look for ways to cut 10-percent from their budgets. City leaders will then look at each department and decide which cuts are acceptable.
Workers in the city said there have been budget shortfalls for the last six years. “I think a lot employees are numb to the fact. We’re not used to getting raises anyway,” employee Ken Petty said. “So another year without a raise is kind of what they expected.
Sources told CBS 11 News that the city is looking at layoffs of staff, possibly privatizing the city’s water service and cutting back some city services. Fort Worth Budget Director Horatio Porter admitted, “Yes, there will be some reduction of services. You don’t reduce a $50 million budget shortfall without some reduction in city services. Our goal is to try to minimize the impact it has on our citizens.”
During the State of the City the Mayor also addressed the need for improved online services for citizens. She said Fort Worth is going to hire a Director of Public Engagement. “We struggle with reaching more than small groups of people. Our new director will help us build a new website, bring online services to you… even mobile apps,” Price promised. “Fort Worth is gonna get into this century kicking or screaming, even if I have to put this bright red shoe on their back.”
Mayor Price said drivers should consider current traffic congestion issues, short-term pain for long-term gain. “And you’re cursing us as you drive. It seems like very road you drive is torn up,” she said talking to the audience. “I know you’ve all got ‘orange cone’ syndrome. You just are sick and tired of the orange barrels everywhere.” She went on to say that all road construction projects in the city are on schedule.
During her address mayor Price also answered questions from citizens who attended the event and answered questions submitted via email, Facebook and Twitter.
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