Fort Worth

Nonprofit that helps senior citizens seeks increased funding from city of Fort Worth

The nonprofit Senior Citizens Services is asking the city for more money as funding from United Way and other agencies drops off.

The organization needs a total of $160,000, which will pay for a part-time senior program director at each of Fort Worth’s eight community centers. The directors oversee volunteers, manage federally funded meals and coordinate transportation at the centers, according to a report presented Tuesday to the City Council.

Parks director Richard Zavala is recommending that the city provide $80,000 for fiscal 2014, and for Senior Citizens Services to seek the rest of the funding from other sources, including Tarrant County, other agencies and potential user fees.

The city currently allocates $81,000 to Senior Citizens Services for transportation services through a community development block grant, Zavala said. His department is reviewing what to do in fiscal 2015 if the program’s funding cuts continue.

“How do we fund it? How are we strategically addressing a significant growth in the population and ensuring our resources are being effectively utilized?” Zavala said.

The recommendation has not come before the council for a vote, but the funding would require amending the current budget.

The council learned from another report that $11.2 million in sales tax revenue for September was the highest it has been in at least 10 years.

As 20 percent of the city’s general fund, stable sales tax revenue is crucial, Mayor Betsy Price said. Reductions in the sales tax starting in 2008 are one reason the city is facing budget hardship today, she said.

“This is great news,” she said. “It puts less pressure on our bottom line.”

The city collected about $9.8 million more than projected for fiscal 2013, and the Crime Control and Prevention District collected $4.7 million more than projected for the year. Collections for fiscal 2013 were up 6.9 percent from fiscal 2012.

The council also unanimously accepted the findings of the water utility task force, created in March to study possibilities of private and public partnerships in Fort Worth’s water department. The task force found that privatization would likely increase rates. The council voted to end the study and dissolve the task force.

Council members also approved more than $6 million in grants for the South Main Urban Village. The North Central Texas Council of Governments and Texas Transportation Department are contributing $3 million; $2.7 million is coming from the Tax Increment Financing District No. 4; and Tarrant County’s share is $740,000.

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