No opponent, no slowing down for Price

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price Special to the Star-Telegram

The May 9 city, school board and Tarrant Regional Water District elections will provide plenty of exciting contests, but the decision for one of the most powerful spots has already been made.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has no opponent, so she’ll have a third two-year term.

Price has been a strong force as mayor, a tireless representative of Fort Worth with a clear grasp of important policy issues. It’s not surprising that no one sees this as the time to challenge her.

It’s also not surprising that Price is already setting postelection priorities. She’s talking about ideas and plans as she would in an election campaign, minus the opponent.

In her State of the City address last week, she pushed for re-election of all her City Council colleagues, calling them “a great team.”

She also brought up key initiatives, such as putting money in the budget for police staffing in far north Fort Worth, while maintaining an overall budget that keeps planned expenditures in line with revenues.

And then there was this: Price said she wants to name a mayor’s advisory round table on education. Giving few details, she said she wants to find corporate champions for education and help school leaders deliver what companies need in the workforce.

It will be interesting to see where she takes this.

The way Texas runs public schools, city officials are on the outside looking in. Mayors in some other states run the schools as well as the city government, but here they have no direct say in education at all.

That has made many mayors uncomfortable when they know things about the schools that need to be fixed. Some have found ways to be agents of change, although indirectly and with great finesse.

Perhaps Price can do that in Fort Worth. School trustees seem to need all the help they can get.

There will be plenty of other challenges.

The ball is already rolling to find a new police chief after Jeff Halstead retired in January.

Price has been prodding public transportation leaders since she took office, and she’ll need to continue.

Key decisions will be needed on building a multipurpose arena and expanding the convention center, nearby hotels and development along Lancaster Avenue. City Hall itself might need more room.

With Fort Worth’s growth comes the constant challenge of making sure city services keep up with demand. That means keeping a firm hand on development and neighborhood quality of life.

Betsy Price is fit for the leadership challenge. It’s hers for at least two more years.