Conroe City Council members and city staff department heads gave a State of the City address at one of the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber The Pulse Luncheons at the Lone Star Convention Center on March 21.
Led by council members Jody Czajkoski and Duane Ham and Conroe City Administrator Paul Virgadamo, the presentation covered fiscal responsibility, transportation, economic development and quality of life in Conroe.
“We’re expanding with rapid growth here in Conroe, and I’m extremely excited about increasing business in our area,” Czajkoski said.
Conroe is 115 years old, employs 600 full-time and 200 part-time staff, and has a daytime population of 130,000—above its official resident population of 85,000, according to the presentation.
“Conroe will eventually grow into 330 square miles in its current ETJ—the size of Austin, Texas,” Czajkoski said. “I really think in 30 years, this whole area is going to be considered the Houston-Conroe metroplex. We’re the only city with room to grow, and annexation laws have changed with the way [municipal utility district]s are being founded—it’s going to continue to grow; you’re talking about a lot of land.”
Ham said Conroe has been fiscally responsible with its tax revenues as it grows, keeping tax rates lower than others nearby—League City at $0.58 and Missouri City at $0.63 per $100 valuation.
“We’re here because we’re been very fiscally responsible, and with the growth we’re having, people want to come here,” Ham said. “We have a lake, beautiful trees—the city sometimes butts heads with developers, but we have a lot of trees left still.”
He said the city needs to hit a balanced, happy medium.
“We need to encourage development but also take care of natural resources,” Ham said. “We’ve got a lot of homes going in out there. … We just keep booming and booming and booming."
He said growth stimulators are the airport, the Deison Technology Park and Conroe Industrial Park North, showcasing the need for new infrastructure to keep up with the development of the new multimillion dollar wastewater treatment plant along Foster and Ed Kharbat Drives.
“We’re doing it because of the growth—there’s some cool stuff fixing to happen on the east side," Ham said. "There is a lot of reason to come downtown that we didn’t have before—before, you had to go to the lawyer’s office, go to the courthouse or pay taxes. Now, you have a reason to come downtown—it’s starting to get more shopping [and] great restaurants."
Czajkoski said the 330 square miles of Conroe's ETJ are booming.
“Conroe is hot; it’s an exciting time to be here; there’s plenty of opportunity for your kids, for your family, plenty of opportunities to go out and make a living as well—we’re open for business, development growth, we’re looking to recruit families to our community,” Czajkoski said.