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Fort Worth Considers Adding Council Members

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - A committee appointed by the Fort Worth City Council to gather public input into changing the city charter is wrapping up a series of public hearings to see if the city should change the way it governs. A planned, city-wide vote in May could add new council members, change the length of time council members serve and even increase city council salaries.

Far north Fort Worth is one of the examples of why the city thinks it might need more representatives sitting on the council dais. At TPR Burgers, the owners see a problematic median dividing traffic on Basswood Drive hindering drivers from entering their parking; stranding them when a train passes.

"We've seen a train sit here for an hour and a half one day," said Lydia Shivers who owns TPR Burgers with her husband. "And when that happens there are people jumping up and over the median for that hour and a half."

But many people in north Fort Worth feel it's difficult getting the city to notice their problems.

Shivers and her husband bought their restaurant 14 months ago when they moved from west Fort Worth to north Fort Worth. Same city. Different World.

"We are in Keller ISD, we have Watauga right across the train tracks, Keller is just right up the road," Shivers said. "So, I don't feel when we moved up here that were really in Fort Worth. I have a Fort Worth address but I feel like I'm in Keller."

One of the biggest reasons she feels that way is because the city does its business so far away.

"We do a lot with our business down at City Hall and that's downtown and that's a 25-plus minute drive," Shivers explained. "And with all the construction off of 820 and I 35 it takes sometimes an hour to get down there.

Fort Worth council members are looking at changing the way it governs to better represent growth and diversity. It might add two more city council members and even double the terms council members serve so they have time to find and deal with their districts' problems -- like businesses who want a turn lane added.

"Parkland is such a huge area up here," Shivers said. "And if we had some sort of representation I think we would feel a little bit more connected to the city."

The city's committee had held hearings for public input about changing the charter. It will report its recommendations to council for the May election.

Click here to see the presentation about changing the charter.

Here are the possible ballot items and unanswered questions about them.

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