In a letter to the Montrose Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone dated July 9, Management District Board Vice Chairman Steve Madden said the board is interested in partnering with the TIRZ to support projects in the area. A management district cannot itself build infrastructure, he said, but it can enter maintenance agreements with a TIRZ for upkeep, and it can do small-scale community signage and beautification.
“The MMD is in the process of restructuring the board,” the letter reads. “Our goal is to reduce its size and bring in more representation from assessment payers. ... The MMD will seek input through community meetings and a public hearing to ‘right-size’ its projects to the needs of the district and the limitations of its budget.”
The management district board is developing a services and investments plan with a maximum proposed assessment of $0.10 per $100 of valuation of commercial properties in the area, as well as a prorated assessment on some mid and high-rise apartments. The district could resume services by 2022.
TIRZ board members discussed the letter briefly at a meeting Aug. 17, though some members expressed concerns over the district's standing in the community.
"One of my concerns as the management district moves forward and as we contemplate collaboration with them is transparency and recovering trust," TIRZ board member Lisa Hunt said. "I am concerned about the re-establishment of that trust. I think the TIRZ board has worked very deliberately to establish trust with our neighborhoods, and I would hate to see our credibility tarnished if there's not an above-board process going forward."
District C Council Member Abbie Kamin echoed those comments and told Community Impact Newspaper that her priorities for any management district being considered in her district are “transparency and community engagement.”
The district voted to dissolve in 2018 while appealing a county judge's ruling that the district had improperly assessed some property owners. That case was dismissed by state and county courts after the district and the plaintiffs agreed to reach a settlement in May 2019.
Madden’s letter stated that upon reinstatement, the district will better leverage the economic growth in the neighborhood from upcoming developments that are outpacing city-led improvements to the area’s infrastructure hampered by Houston’s budgetary constraints.
Management districts working in partnership with tax-increment reinvestment zones are not uncommon in Houston, with Upper Kirby and Uptown being examples.
Matt Dulin contributed to this report.