The Woodlands Township's incorporation study financial model moves forward

The Woodlands Township board of directors met for a regular meeting Sept. 19.

The Woodlands Township board of directors met for a regular meeting Sept. 19.

The Novak Consulting Group, which has been conducting an incorporation study for The Woodlands Township this year, presented its most recent findings to the board of directors Sept. 25. The consultants asked the board for guidance on which items to include in its financial models for incorporation relating to public works, franchise fees and several other areas.

The incorporation study will continue through the end of the year, with the consultants scheduled to ask The Woodlands board of directors for guidance on law-enforcement items at the board's Oct. 23 meeting. In December, the board is expected to determine a maximum tax rate. According to information presented at the meeting, the board may vote next May on whether to schedule an incorporation election in November.

At the Sept. 25 meeting Novak presented its five-year financial assumptions for property, sales, hotel occupancy and mixed beverage tax revenue beginning in 2021. Among the assumptions for 2021 are $46.5 million in property tax revenue, $54.9 million in sales tax revenue, $9.9 million in hotel tax revenue and $966,000 in mixed beverage tax revenue.

The financial models also include an initial $21.3 million expense for a public works department—$16.7 million from the capital fund for one-time costs and $4.6 million from the general fund for ongoing operational costs. The subsequent years carry an annual ongoing operation cost of about $4.7 million-$4.9 million each year.

The board chose not to include assumptions in the financial model that municipal utility districts will be taken over by the city if the township incorporates. It also voted to assume it will maintain its current approach to covenant administration, which functions as deed restriction, in the financial model.

One item Novak representatives said they were not able to deliver immediately was a tax rate calculator residents would be able to use to determine their future property tax bill based on all of the taxing entities for their specific address. Novak representatives said that may not be feasible because the information from the various taxing entities is not available in one central location online, and it is also behind a firewall. However, an average property tax bill could be established as a reference point, they said.
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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