FORT WORTH — Fort Worth rolled out its plan Tuesday to close a projected $50 million budget gap.
City Manager Tom Higgins delivered some good news — rising sales tax revenues along with smaller than expected increases in health care costs will help reduce the red ink.
He recommended saving money by eliminating 46 vacant police jobs, 36 vacant fire department positions and 10 more from un-staffed code compliance jobs.
Overall, the budget cuts 120 positions, but Mayor Betsy Price emphasized that all but about 15 are currently vacant. She said she hopes no actual layoffs will be necessary if employees can be reassigned.
Price pointed out that the budget calls for increasing police funding by $4.4 million. The Police Officers Association has used everything from sock puppets to polls to warn the public about cuts to law enforcement.
POA president Sgt Steve Hall said the budget PowerPoint presentation reinforces police concerns that staffing has remained flat despite the city's exploding population. The extra money cited by the city is primarily to cover contract costs.
Police Chief Jeff Halstead said he will address the budget impact to police during a workshop on Thursday.