Interest money

Fort Worth approves new strategy — and money — to boost economic development

Fort Worth needs more money. Don’t worry, the city isn’t going bankrupt, but city leaders have decided that more needs to be done to encourage economic development.

City council on Tuesday authorized a strategic plan that includes funding for an economic development incentive fund. It is now up to City Manager David Cooke and his staff to develop strategies and policies for its implementation.

The plan calls for dedicated funding from expiring tax increment funding (TIF) districts — a source that city officials say could potentially raise as much as $18 million. TIFs 3, 4 and 8 are those that will expire in the next few years.

TIF 3 is in the city center and will expire on December 31, 2025. TIF 4 is the South/Medical Ward and expires on December 31 of this year, and TIF 8 is the Lancaster area and expires on December 31, 2024.

Fort Worth has budgeted $2 million for “deal-making” in economic development for this fiscal year. And while the city also has nearly $6 million more to help some sold properties, that number is still dwarfed by the $27 million spent on nearby Frisco, as well as nearly $18 million on McKinney. , $17 million to Arlington and $11 million to Allen. .

Fort Worth Director of Economic Development Robert Sturns called the authorization an important step forward in bolstering the city’s economic development efforts.

“We’re in a very competitive landscape with the DFW Metroplex and across the country,” Sturns said. “This will provide the resources needed to accelerate our recruiting efforts, advance our community development efforts, and enable us to do innovative things in the area of ​​entrepreneurship.”

According to the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, more than 20 new corporate headquarters arrived in the Fort Worth-Dallas area last year, but none landed in the city of Fort Worth. Meanwhile, statistics from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce show that business interest in Fort Worth has nearly doubled since 2019 to more than 150 businesses last year – but there just weren’t enough money to induce to close the deal. how that corporate interest in Fort Worth has nearly doubled since 2019 to over 150 companies last year, but there just wasn’t enough money to incentivize the deal.

In January 2017, the city engaged TIP Strategies, Inc., with offices in Austin and Seattle, to design a strategic economic development plan. This plan was accepted in December 2017.

However, largely due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, adjustments had to be made to reflect the resulting business outlook and adapt to the new environment. Hence the need to be more creative.

A copy of the plan is available on the website.