A recent editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has us asking again, WHAT? We were reading along, agreeing and wondered, what's the catch?
While we agree with some of the content and are glad the paper realizes there are more neighborhoods than just downtown, we noticed this was the second article without a mention of their beloved Trinity River Vision. The article says if Fort Worth can't fix its mangled budget, it should stick to the basics. You know, those things your tax money is supposed to pay for - infrastructure, police, fire...
And then, there it was, the picture for the article shows the failed, costly streetcar that the Trinity River Vision had brought to Fort Worth and put on display like a pig at the county fair. We have to ask, is it really a basic?
Or is this just another commercial?
The meaning of quality of life in Fort Worth depends on where you live.
Unfortunately, we still have areas in Fort Worth where even the essentials are lacking. A good quality of life in these neighborhoods would mean curbs, sidewalks and access to a grocery store that doesn't take two bus transfers and three hours to reach.
The city is faced once again with a massive budget shortfall in the fiscal 2013 budget, in the neighborhood of $45 million. That is about twice the size of the hole the council had to fill last year. Closing that $23.1 million gap required $5.8 million in cuts and money transfers from the enterprise and capital budget funds.
This just may be the new normal, folks. Wishing for the good ol' days of sizable increases in property and sales tax revenues is not a sustainable solution.
Sure, it would be great if urban villages were blossoming like springtime irises, with wide tree-lined boulevards sporting sidewalk cafes, free Wi-Fi and a streetcar to whisk patrons hither and yon. It would be great if every council district had a family aquatic center and a modern library and a dog park.
But it'd also be great if local government would focus on making sure the essentials -- safe neighborhoods, drivable streets, functioning waste and storm water systems -- were part of everyone's quality of life.