FORT WORTH — The city is woefully behind on technology and government transparency, said Mayor Betsy Price, topics she will focus on in her State of the City Address on Thursday.“Fort Worth is obviously behind the curve and we will talk about where we stand in relation to electronic business in relation to most major cities and hopefully some suggestions for solutions,” Price said. Though she wouldn’t say where it ranks, saving that for her speech, she said Fort worth is “way low on the totem pole” compared with other cities.“I want everybody to be surprised at how low we are on the technology,” Price said. Several Texas cities were ranked as some of the most digital cities in the country in 2013 by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on technology practices for local and state governments, but Fort Worth did not make the cut.For cities with a population of 250,000 or more, Corpus Christi took 5th place and Austin took 6th. Irving won first place in its population category, with Richardson also making the top ten for its category. The center analyzed transparency and open government initiatives, as well as access to city services via mobile apps and the cities’ ability to eliminate waste through technology. Price said an example of Fort Worth improving city services with technology is a planned 311-type call center that will provide easy connection to city services. That project, however, is a three- to five-year process that city officials plan to start in 2015.In addition to technology, Price said the city needs to focus on transportation infrastructure, such as building complete streets with sidewalks and bicycle lanes and offering improved public transit systems. “We are a large urban city that is rapidly changing and we have to wrap our head around — how do we be the 16th biggest city in the nation? How do we do that?” Price said. Price said she will discuss the advantages and challenges presented by Fort Worth’s rapid growth. It is the sixth-fastest-growing city in the United States since the recession, according to Forbes. She said she will also make a couple of “nice announcements,” including a report on jobs and an appointment at the city that she thinks “will please everybody.”Her speech will be about 20 minutes, with another 20 minutes dedicated to answering questions that have been submitted by Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce members and residents of Fort Worth.The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event, which starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Fort Worth Convention Center-Grand Ballroom. The event is sold out, but will be broadcast at http://fortworthtexas.gov/fwtv/.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter: @catyhirst