Election Q&A: The Woodlands Township board of directors Position 2

Learn more about the candidates running for The Woodlands Township board of directors Position 2. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Learn more about the candidates running for The Woodlands Township board of directors Position 2. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for The Woodlands Township board of directors Position 2. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



HOUSTON



The Woodlands Township board of directors Position 2











*indicates incumbent


Responses have been edited for length and clarity.





Jason J. Nelson*



Occupation: minister


Experience: current member of the township board






What do you feel are the most important issues facing The Woodlands Township in 2021 and beyond?



JN: Over the next two years, we must continue to find ways to keep our community strong and safe, support local law enforcement, encourage civil discourse and responsibility, and be good stewards of God’s creation. It’s imperative that we continue to closely monitor our finances as a township and work creatively during this time so that the township can continue to offer the services our residents expect by the most cost effective means possible, while keeping property taxes down.



Do you feel the township should revisit the topic of incorporation; if so, when and how?



JN: We have obtained some important and useful information from the study on incorporation, which I have been studying in-depth as a director. Should the township decide to resume this discussion on incorporation, in an effort to make The Woodlands as strong and independent as possible, we must increase an effort to engage and inform the community of the pros and cons of incorporation since the decision whether or not to incorporate belongs solely to the residents.



What should The Woodlands prioritize in its budget in the next two years and how should it fund new needs?



JN: Funding local law enforcement, our first responders, and all other township staff should be a major priority. We must also continue to prioritize the importance of improving and maintaining our beautiful community ... which really does elevate our quality of life. This community is a great place to live; it’s also a great place to visit so promoting our community as a great place to live, worship, work, learn and play is important as well.



How do you feel your experience will help you to serve as a board member?



JN: My experience working with the board over the last few months has demonstrated that I have the education, qualifications, character, and skill set needed in a director. We have navigated our community through a global pandemic, adopted a conservative and fiscally responsible budget, hired a very qualified and talented new [general manager], continued to provide the services resident expect and enjoy, and voted to fund local law enforcement and first responders while keeping our property taxes down.









Tom Chumbley



Occupation: consultant


Experience: served on Grogan's Mill and Cochran's Crossing Village Boards; master's in public administration, seeking Ph.D. in leadership studies; county, municipal and state internships and professional experience






What do you feel are the most important issues facing The Woodlands Township in 2021 and beyond?



TC: Public safety and [COVID-19]. Incorporation is huge. Township operations performance. How we gain a new source of income; we need to replace lost revenue due to reduced development and make some sort of wise investment that will bring a [return on investment]. We need a comprehensive plan that also includes dealing with aging of The Woodlands housing.



Do you feel the township should revisit the topic of incorporation; if so, when and how?



TC: Absolutely, at some point. I believe it is inevitable that The Woodlands will incorporate, it is just a matter of when. I believe we need to: 1. educate the public via town hall discussions, 2. be explicit about the values on both sides of the arguments, 3. follow the Texas Municipal League handbook on becoming a general law city, and, 4. empower our voters to decide.



What should The Woodlands prioritize in its budget in the next two years and how should it fund new needs?



TC: At this point in the budget, we need to reduce spending. However, I am willing to look at multiple opportunities for revenue from solid investments in The Woodlands. Prioritize public safety and transportation initiatives, and put on the back burner anything that doesn't invest in our future. There shouldn't be new needs unless it represents a great investment revenue stream opportunity.



How do you feel your experience will help you to serve as a board member?



TC: I will provide insight into the issues ... understanding the complexity of those issues, independence to think outside the box to make improvements. I have a specific plan for public safety. I believe I know best how to manage COVID[-19]. I think we need give deference to the values on either side of the incorporation debate and lead a discussion on that topic to increase ... general understanding before asking people to take a vote on it.









Louis Granados



Occupation: engineer (mechanical and nuclear)


Experience: lived in The Woodlands since 2005


Contact: N/A




What do you feel are the most important issues facing The Woodlands Township in 2021 and beyond?



LG: The penetration by the [Howard] Hughes Corporation into the business of The Woodlands and the effects that that its having in the welfare of the residents and the ecosystem.



Do you feel the township should revisit the topic of incorporation; if so, when and how?



LG: The Woodlands should review all the avenues to protect The Woodlands from corporate and personal interests. That includes incorporation or whatever gives the board of [directors] more power over the Montgomery County Commissioners, the Woodlands Development (Hughes Corporation) and other external parties exercising influence over internal affairs.



What should The Woodlands prioritize in its budget in the next two years and how should it fund new needs?



LG: We should authorize a zero-based budget to finally optimize the resources and evaluate the real need of the property owners.



How do you feel your experience will help you to serve as a board member?



LG: I am engineer and a manager of multi-million-dollar projects mostly in the oil an gas where I had to face the same pressure from external agents to bend my will to protect the interests of the stakeholders. They did not succeed then and they will not succeed now. The difference here is that the stakeholders for me here are the property owners not the big corporations or the political [action committees].









Jimmie Dotson



Occupation: retired chief of police


Experience: retired chief of police (Houston ISD); executive assistant chief of police (Houston); partner in MC Red & Associates, law enforcement consultants; served on local boards and ministries, Corporal E4 of the United States Marine Corps, served in Vietnam






What do you feel are the most important issues facing The Woodlands Township in 2021 and beyond?



JD: budgeting to restore our good financial conditions; water usage/flooding —[working] closely with entities with oversight over groundwater versus surface water, and [municipal utility districts]; increase our reliance on non-property tax sources through business, sales, and room taxes, other venues but incorporation could impact resources



Do you feel the township should revisit the topic of incorporation; if so, when and how?



JD: Only when the residents of The Woodlands initiate a demand for that action but so far that has not happened, so I join them in saying no for now.



What should The Woodlands prioritize in its budget in the next two years and how should it fund new needs?



JD: We need to look at a successful economic development project that can generate hotel and sales taxes and can make The Woodlands a desirable place to live. Additionally, The Township currently has reserves that could be used to avoid property tax increases.



How do you feel your experience will help you to serve as a board member?



JD: My experiences up to and including chief of police helps me understand budgets, revenues, expenditures, also everything relating to those positions, including relationships with citizens and elected officials at all levels on both sides of the aisle. My years of service on non-rofit boards and with organizations that support law enforcement, and helps citizens live better lives, gives me a valued knowledge. Finally, I am prepared by my faith and the support of my wife.



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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