Update: This story has been updated to reflect that a meeting of the Montrose Management District set for Jan. 11 has been postponed with a new date to be determined.

Officials with the the Montrose Management District announced the group's relaunch in December after years of inactivity with the goal of enhancing public safety and stoking economic development in Montrose.

The backstory

The Montrose Management District first formed in 2011 when two existing improvement districts were merged. A management district is a governmental entity given powers under state law to assess property taxes and fees on commercial property owners within their boundaries.

The district cannot impose taxes of fees unless a petition is led to the district's board requesting the services. The district then uses the funds it raises on initiatives according to a service plan approved by its board of directors.

The Montrose Management District let its service plan expire in 2018 following a legal battle. Two lawsuits—which accused the management district of improperly assessing property owners within its boundaries—were dismissed with prejudice in 2019 following a settlement with the plaintiff, but the management district never reactivated. Officials briefly plotted a comeback in 2021 that never took off.

The latest

In order to reform, the district had to receive a petition from commercial property owners in its boundaries with at least 25 signatures.

During a Dec. 5 community engagement session, officials with Hawes Hill and Associates—the economic development agency brought on to advise the district—said they received a petition with signatures from 60 property owners. The district's board accepted the petition at a Dec. 14 meeting, officially bringing the district back to life for at least a duration of 15 years.

A 15-year service plan lays out the following guidelines for how the district will assess property owners:
  • The assessment rate is a maximum of 9 cents per $100 in property value as determined by the Harris County Appraisal District, lower than rate of 12 cents per $100 in property value assessed when the district last operated.
  • Mid-rise and high-rise buildings pay assessments based on the value of only four levels of each structure.
  • Multifamily residential complexes of 25 units or less are exempt from assessments.
  • Mixed-use properties will pay assessments only if the business portion of the property is more than 40% of the total valuation.
The plan is reviewed for potential changes by the board of directors every year.

The details

In budget data shared online, officials anticipate spending around $2.16 million on average each year for the 15 years of the service plan, or $32.5 million over the entire 15 years. Funds will be spent according to the following breakdown:
  • 60% for public safety and security, or $1.3 million annually
  • 15% for project administration, or $325,000 annually
  • 10% for maintenance and beautification, or $217,000 annually
  • 10% for economic development, or $217,000 annually
  • 5% placed in reserves, or roughly $108,000 annually
Revenue for 2024 is projected at $2.2 million.

During the Dec. 5 community engagement session, Andrea Duhon, deputy executive director with Hawes Hill & Associates, said the district will look to improve public safety by funding security patrols along key Montrose corridors and deploying security cameras. Other initiatives would involve graffiti and litter abatement, maintaining consistent street lighting in public areas, and potentially developing a new homeless outreach program.

One function of the management district could involve long-term maintenance of projects completed by the Montrose Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. By law, TIRZs can use their funds to build projects, but not for long-term maintenance.

Eleven of the board's 15 seats are not filled, according to the district's website. The four current board members include Tammi Wallace, William Isaac Davis, Lara Attayi and Dimitri Fetokakis.

What they're saying

In an interview following the Dec. 5 community engagement session, Stephen Longmire, president of the First Montrose Commons Civic Association, said he thought a management district could play an important role in Montrose particularly when it comes to maintaining TIRZ projects. However, he said the circumstances under which the Montrose Management District went dormant and then relaunched highlight the need for transparency in how it operates. He said he remains optimistic about what the district can accomplish.

"We desperately need a management district of some kind," Longmire said.

What's next

A meeting of the Montrose Management District set for Jan. 11 has been postponed with a new date to be determined.