State of the County Highlights Tarrant County’s Growth and Potential

The Fort Worth Chamber hosted its annual State of the County, presented by Capital One, on August 17, featuring Tarrant County Judge Tim O'Hare. Judge O’Hare recapped his tenure since coming into office at the beginning of 2023, and provided an overview of the county's current trajectory and future aspirations.

Judge O'Hare acknowledged Tarrant County's remarkable population growth in recent years. Tarrant County now ranks as the 15th most populous county in the United States, and the third most populous in Texas. The growth presents itself with both challenges and opportunities for the County under Judge O’Hare’s leadership.

One of his top priorities when running for County Judge was public safety, and O’Hare dedicated a portion of his remarks to discussing the work Tarrant County is doing in this area. Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department is the primary law enforcement agency for 80,000 citizens living in unincorporated areas of the County. If they operated as their own police force, it would be the third largest police department in Tarrant County. Judge O’Hare highlighted to creation of a task force to curb human trafficking, but said there is more work to do in the mental health arena. Tarrant County was hoping for legislation that would fund a study for a mental health treatment facility during this year’s legislative session, but ultimately funding for the study didn’t pass. Judge O’Hare said the County would work toward securing that funding next session.

Another point of emphasis for Judge O’Hare was local tax rates. In 2023, the Tarrant County tax rate was cut from 22.4 cents per $100 valuation down to 19.45 cents per $100 valuation. The JPS Hospital District rate was cut from 22.4 cents to 19.45 cents as well, putting both rates below the “no new revenue” tax rate. Tarrant County is also allowing a homestead exemption on both property taxes to further provide tax relief.

Lastly, Judge O’Hare mentioned the desire to collaborate with the City of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Chamber, and other economic development stakeholders to improve the area’s business attraction efforts. Tarrant County is an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family, and Judge O’Hare would like to see the local business community pulling in the same direction to continue attracting business and growth to Tarrant County.

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