Q&A: Learn about candidates for The Woodlands Township board of directors, Position 7

Voters will choose between four candidates in the race for The Woodlands Township board of directors, Position 7. Board members serve two-year terms.



Here are candidate responses to several questions prepared by Community Impact Newspaper. Some responses have been edited for length.


Bob Milner


Experience: business owner, member of five area nonprofit boards
Top priorities: Incorporation, mobility, water subsidence, flood mitigation
832-562-0927
www.electmilner.com


Why are you running for The Woodlands Township board of directors?
I believe my service to the community can be continued by serving the residents of The Woodlands in a new impactful way. Our path moving forward is important to me, and I believe my ability to build consensus, serve the community and plan for the future are skill sets the board will need moving into the future.


How do you feel your previous experience will help you to serve as a board member?
I have a proven record of building consensus among many varied parties within the community. My success in business enables me to bring a critical thinking and strategic mindset to the board as an independent thinker and representative of the residents.


What are the greatest challenges the board will face in the next two years?
The big three are: incorporation, mobility planning and water subsidence/flood mitigation. These will determine the path of The Woodlands. How do we continue with Mr. Mitchell’s vision to ensure our families [will] enjoy the same vision?


Do you feel The Woodlands should call for a vote on incorporation in 2020? Why or why not?
I wouldn’t support it if it would create an undue financial impact on the residents or compromise the integrity of the amenities and culture of The Woodlands. I believe decisions that have potential impact on the residents should be decided at the ballot box and not by seven elected officials.


Will your current employment or activities present any conflict of interest if you serve on the board, and how would you address this?
No, I am a self-employed entrepreneur and experiential professor of entrepreneurship at Sam Houston State University.







David Cassidy


Experience: 18 years in the health care industry, 15 years in real estate investing, 8 years as a manager in the service industry, 4 years as a director on the Houston Heights Association and my entire adult life as a volunteer.
Top priorities: I am committed to enhancing our quality of life and amenities in a fiscally responsible manner.
https://cassidycan.wixsite.com


Why are you running for The Woodlands Township board of directors?
A sense of civic duty compelled me to run for the Township board. I have no special interests, financial interests or hidden political agendas. My commitment to enhancing our quality of life and amenities in a fiscally responsible manner while ensuring that the next generation will thrive in our hometown as much as we have is my only motivation.


How do you feel your previous experience will help you to serve as a board member?
Previously, I served on the Heights Association Board of Trustees where I was active in their reforestation effort … chaired the education committee promoting teacher classroom grants, in charge of security for the Heights festival and parade, and served as program director for monthly public meetings. Professionally, I was a manager in the service industry for seven years, and have been a physical therapist for 18 years and have been involved in real estate for 15 years.


What are the greatest challenges the board will face in the next two years?
The board has tremendous challenges over the next several years: Financial challenges of decreasing revenue and increasing expenses, flooding and subsidence, aging infrastructure, increasing county population affecting traffic, retirement and replacement of top township leaders (the fire chief and the general manager), and continuing smart business development are all immediate challenges that will effect our ability to maintain our quality of life.


Do you feel The Woodlands should call for a vote on incorporation in 2020? Why or why not?
Our system of governance will determine how we will face our challenges and what tools we will have. Incorporation is a contentious issue but one that needs to be studied and discussed and decided on by the community. A study regarding the financial impact of incorporation is wrapping up. My preference pending the results is to place incorporation on the ballot in 2020. I believe residents will make a sound decision and we can have some finality.


Will your current employment or activities present any conflict of interest if you serve on the board, and how would you address this?
No. My schedule is flexible allowing me to meet all my obligations as a director and I don’t anticipate any conflicts of interest between my employer and my duties as a director.







Walt Lisiewski


Experience: worked 35 years at Brown & Root, Inc. and Jacobs Engineering in a senior executive role overseeing construction/engineering and maintenance projects worldwide. Active in local governing boards.
Top priorities: stop incorporation, better control flooding, address mobility and alternatives, maintain public safety, support the CISD school bond
713-824-8098
www.lisiewski4township.com


Why are you running for The Woodlands Township board of directors?
I am the “engaged resident” because I am the only candidate who has actually been governing:
• enforcing our community standards on DSC (chairman) and RDRC;
• managing water, sewer and drainage on MUD 1; and
• encouraging village activity on PCVA. With important issues affecting our future (Incorporation, flooding, succession planning) we need a director who shows up and is effective on day one, who is not conflicted and who has a proven record of exercising his own voice.


How do you feel your previous experience will help you to serve as a board member?
I have the best experience for this job of any candidate running and I have the focus to get results. I serve on governing Boards (DSC chairman, RDRC, PCVA, MUD No. 1). In my professional career, I managed thousands of people and $500-plus million dollar budgets. I have always valued and listened to my clients or constituents and I will do the same for the residents and businesses in our community.


What are the greatest challenges the board will face in the next two years?
Incorporation: The implications of incorporating will affect every resident and business. The challenge is in clearly and accurately communicating these implications to the community. Flooding: Two years have passed since Harvey and we do not have a plan to avoid further flooding incidents. The challenge is to work closely with our neighbors to implement improvements. Others: mobility/creating alternatives to personal vehicle travel, maintaining public safety (fire and law enforcement), leadership succession.


Do you feel The Woodlands should call for a vote on incorporation in 2020? Why or why not?
If we incorporate, we know that there would be a significant property tax increase and a new pass-through tax, the franchise fee and very little value added. Also, the next five years would be consumed with creating two different forms of city government. Most importantly, if we vote to become a city, we cannot revert to our current form of government. Directors should not call for a vote unless they agree that incorporation is warranted.


Will your current employment or activities present any conflict of interest if you serve on the board, and how would you address this?
I am the chair of the Design Standards Committee (DSC), the committee which reviews residential and commercial requests for variances in The Woodlands. We meet twice a month for meetings lasting 3-5 hours each. In addition, time is spent in preparation, research and site visits in advance of the meetings. If I am elected to the Township board, I will resign my position on the DSC. My full focus will be on the township issues.







Andy DuBois


Experience: Project manager for Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack; worked for Houston Community Newspapers and Media Group for around 18 years, serving in roles as city editor, managing editor, editor of The Courier of Montgomery County and The Woodlands Villager, Executive Editor of the 24 HCN newspapers and editor/publisher of The Courier.
Top priorities: Prevent a rushed vote on incorporation and ensure that all details of the costs are communicated to residents; fiscal responsibility; provide smart mobility solutions; drainage and flood mitigation; truth, transparency and trust.
281-467-9512
www.facebook.com/andyduboisfortownship


Why are you running for The Woodlands Township board of directors?
Friends, professional and personal acquaintances have asked why I don't run for office. I have an opportunity to seek a voluntary, nonpaid elected position and serve the community, providing the level of truth and transparency that has defined me and my career. I want to ensure the special-purpose district of The Woodlands accomplishes what it is charged with doing—providing the best amenities, services and public safety, while keeping property taxes as low as possible.


How do you feel your previous experience will help you to serve as a board member?
Knowledge of local government and infrastructure gives me an understanding of entities that provide services to The Woodlands, how they are intertwined and how the community benefits most from this form of government. Job experience, including relationships with key leaders and contacts in the public and private sector, enables me to address key issues, such as traffic mobility, connectivity and safety; budget challenges; long-term planning; and maintaining the level of services and amenities expected by residents.


What are the greatest challenges the board will face in the next two years?
Incorporation—residents must know the costs, tax burden, any benefits, as well as that the community is protected from annexation before this issue goes before voters.
Flattening revenue—work with the EDP, chamber and businesses to improve sales tax revenue in order to offset the residential property tax burden and be in position to provide a homestead exemption.
Mobility—improve public transit system for commuter workforce and multimodal transportation, while eliminating unwanted roads/extensions from major thoroughfare plan.


Do you feel The Woodlands should call for a vote on incorporation in 2020? Why or why not?
No. Incorporation should not be placed on the 2020 ballot. I oppose rushed incorporation, especially because incorporation would increase property taxes for residents without providing any new or improved services. Studies have overlooked substantial costs for services, personnel, equipment, training and contracts that would increase the overall tax burden. The Woodlands is protected from annexation. Survey showed 70 percent of residents oppose incorporation and almost 85 percent would not support incorporation if it requires any property tax increase.


Will your current employment or activities present any conflict of interest if you serve on the board, and how would you address this?
I do not see any potential conflicts of interest. However, if any arise, like other board members in the past, I will disclose the conflict and recuse myself from discussion and the vote. I built my career on integrity, ethics and transparency, and I would not sacrifice those values for anything, including a vote or discussion on the township board.




By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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