Township switches monthly meetings to boost resident participation in study

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Over the next several months. The Woodlands Township board of directors will change the times of its second monthly meeting to accommodate public feedback as the township studies the feasibility of incorporating into a city.

Beginning with last month’s April 25 meeting, the township’s Wednesday meetings, typically held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, has been moved from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Following the meetings, the board will host planning sessions and public comment at 6 p.m. regarding the township’s ongoing study on incorporation.

“This is an opportunity for us to lay out the incorporation planning process, the study that’s going to be undertaken over the next year,” said Alan Pennington, vice president of Matrix Consulting Group, the firm conducting the study. “One of the things that’s been very clear throughout this process is as many opportunities for public input as possible should be built into the process. We will be doing a board update every month as part of this planning session, and with public comment, there’s opportunities to share your input.”

Township officials said the move was made to allow more residents to attend and provide feedback throughout the study. Because meetings are usually held during business hours, many residents were not able to attend the 4 p.m. planning sessions, which were previously held before the regular meeting.

“Our hope is that we have as deep of public engagement as we can,” township Chairman Gordy Bunch said. “We sincerely want to hear the feedback so that when we’re working with our consultants over the next few months, we know what issues to be highlighting and addressing and providing feedback to.”

Pennington said beginning in June and continuing through the fall, the township board will receive subject- specific presentations, including law enforcement, pavement management, infrastructure and revenue. The public is invited to give feedback during those meetings as well, Pennington said.

Additionally, a website featuring background information, ongoing updates on the study and frequently asked questions is expected to be introduced to residents in mid-to-late May, Pennington said.

Matrix Consulting Group will also host community forums in the fall as well as distribute a survey to collect feedback on the concept of incorporation as a whole.

“What we don’t want as consultants or as the board is for anyone to feel like they haven’t had an opportunity for input, and I think with these number and types of ways to [provide input, nobody should feel that at the end,” he said.

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Wendy Cawthon
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Cawthon has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and joined The Woodlands edition in 2017.
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