Fort Worth residents to vote on number of council members on May 7

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On May 7 Fort Worth residents will have the opportunity to vote on city charter revisions, which include increasing the number of council members from eight plus the mayor to 10 plus the mayor.
In July 2015, the Fort Worth City Council established The City of Fort Worth Charter Review Task Force to find recommendations for the charter before the May 2016 election.
The task force recommended increasing council members to 10 plus the mayor, because of Fort Worth’s population growth, said Cheraya Pena, press secretary for city council.
“The real issue has been the steady growth of the city of Fort Worth,” said Pena.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and Fort Worth government’s website Fort Worth’s population has increased by 410,803 people since 1975.
The population growth means council members currently represent approximately 101,000 citizens, according to the Charter Review Task Force’s findings.
Pena said the increase in council members would not be specific to one area.
“[The increase is] just trying to have better representation over all, for all citizens,” said Pena.
The city council has included eight council members plus the mayor since 1975, said Mary Kayser, city secretary of Fort Worth.
The goal is for the increase to be in effect for the 2023 election upon redistricting after the 2020 census, said Kayser.
Kayser said the additional cost for the two council members’ salaries would come from the city’s general fund.
Part of increased cost of the two council members depends on how residents vote on Proposition 3, said Kayser. Proposition 3 addresses the task forces’ recommendation to increase council members’ salaries from $25,000 to $45,0000 annually said Kayser.
The salary increase is recommended to go into effect Oct. 1, 2016 if residents vote for the proposition on May 7, according to the task force.
The outcome of the vote on Proposition 3 will determine if two additional council members would cost taxpayers $50,000 or $90,000; however, additional costs are still unknown, said Kayser.
“There’s no way to tell additionally what else [is needed], but it would be minor,” said Kayser.
Residents will be able to vote on the task forces’ recommendations for two additional council members and increased council members’ salaries in the charter election on May 7.