Throughout their incorporation study, the Township Board and its consultants have determined that they cannot provide an accurate estimate of whether the $7.1 million in franchise fees they collect will replace current fees that utilities companies may be charging their customers or whether utility companies will pass on the new fees to their customers. According to Township Chairman Gordy Bunch, much of this uncertainty is due to a lack of response from certain utility providers to inquiries as to whether they are currently collecting franchise fees from their customers. Additionally, Bunch pointed out that Entergy stopped charging franchise fees in 2014 but Consolidated Communications does currently collect them.
The potential incorporation of The Woodlands into a city was a main topic of discussion and a point of contention at a recent candidate forum for The Woodlands Township Board positions 5, 6, and 7 hosted by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce. Click to read the candidates' positions on this topic.
In addition to a first-year one-time capital expense of $16,700,000, a City of The Woodlands would take on $6,376,000 in new annual expenses (not including the yet to be determined expense of potentially creating a Woodlands Police Department) and $966,000 in new annual revenue.
At a September 18 tax rate adoption meeting, The Woodlands Township Board of Directors was divided on whether to raise or lower The Woodlands’ property tax rate. Facing a deadline, on the fifth vote of the night, the board ultimately voted unanimously to adopt the effective tax rate of .224% after directors Ann Snyder, John McMullan, and Carol Stromatt held the line and refused to vote in favor of increasing property taxes.
At the latest Township Board of Directors Incorporation Planning Session, questions were raised about the impact incorporation would have on preventing The Woodlands Parkway extension and a possible threat of forced annexation for The Woodlands in 2057 when its Regional Protection Agreement (RPA) with Houston and Conroe expire.
In the letter, Huberty, who sponsored SB6 in 2017 and authored HB347 in 2019, said that these “recent laws passed by the Texas Legislature have put an end to forced annexation, which means no community in Texas, including The Woodlands, can be forcibly annexed without the approval of its residents today or in the future.”
Leakey went on to ask that the Township post Huberty’s letter on its website because he believes that The Woodlands residents have been misled about any threat of annexation our community could face, especially in regards to how that relates to The Township’s ongoing process of assessing the costs and benefits of potentially incorporating The Woodlands into a city.
In the recent legislative session, state lawmakers approved two new bills that will lower school property taxes and limit the rise of other property taxes in Texas, at least until the next legislative session... This reverses the trend by state lawmakers over previous legislative sessions of lowering the state’s share of public education funding, which has been a driving factor in the increase of ISD property taxes over the last decade. This significantly impacts property taxes in Texas because ISD taxes typically make up 45-50% of total property tax bills.
Commissioner Noack said, "While free from the burdens of roads, bridges, municipal courts and other city functions, the Township is able to focus on quality of life issues such as covenant enforcement, enhancing already amazing amenities, further development of its ISO 1 rated fire department, and so much more."
Hosted by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, four candidates for the Position 2 seat and two candidates for the Position 4 seat met at the chamber offices to do the meet and greet via Facebook Live.
Local residents and voters in The Woodlands will be able to ‘meet and greet’ six candidate for four seats on the township Board of Directors at a voter awareness booth Saturday at The Woodlands Farmers Market.
“I’m surprised to see the current board is moving so fast to have this incorporation vote, and I haven’t had anyone identify what problem we’re solving or what risk factor we’re identifying,” former Township Chair Bruce Tough said. “There’s a push for some reason and no benefit to be gained.”
Houston annexation was always the driving force behind efforts by many local residents to incorporate The Woodlands as a city in order to prevent annexation either by Houston or Conroe. With the primary reason for incorporation legally removed, The Golden Hammer asked some community leaders whether the passage of House Bill 347 now negates the need for incorporation or not.