Editor's note: This story deals with municipal utility districts within The Woodlands Water Agency in Montgomery County. MUD No. 386 also serves portions of Harris County within The Woodlands and has two seats available. Penny Lynn Prater, Marcus J. Allen and Christopher Boyer are listed on the Harris County ballot for that election.

Interest in the boards governing nine municipal utility districts in The Woodlands resulted in 49 candidates seeking positions this year.

The nonpartisan boards carry out functions such as setting retail and sewer rates as well as levying tax rates to finance infrastructure. Typically, tax rates in water districts become lower over time as they repay debt, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which supervises water districts through the Texas Water Code.

A total of 22 contested positions are available on the boards for The Woodlands MUD No. 1 and Montgomery County MUD Nos. 6, 7, 36, 39, 46, 47, 60 and 67.

James Byers, Precinct 24 chair for the Montgomery County Republican Party, said in an email that although the candidates are nonpartisan, he is assisting some of them with their campaigns.“They are simply concerned residents of The Woodlands, willing to step forward to ensure the MUD boards look to the interests of the community, both residents and developers,” he said.

Byers said several issues prompting candidate interest are the boards’ ability to issue bonds and public debt as well as the lack of public broadcasting of MUD meetings.

Representatives of The Woodlands Water Agency, which acts as a coordinating agency for the boards, said topics of interest among candidates typically include groundwater and surface water rates in the districts. The wholesale rates charged by the San Jacinto River Authority in fiscal year 2021-22 for groundwater are $2.88 per 1,000 gallons for groundwater and $3.30 per 1,000 gallons for surface water, increasing since 2018-19 from $2.64 and $2.83, respectively. Those costs are passed on through the MUDs to consumers.

“We know the ongoing community debate over groundwater and surface water has heightened public awareness on our future water sources,” WWA General Manager Jim Stinson said in an email.

Other topics, such as subsidence—or ground sinkage as a result of groundwater withdrawal—have also motivated interest, he said. Fault line activity has been associated with increased subsidence. Flooding, drainage, water rates, transparency and the topic of using bonds rather than cash to fund infrastructure needs are also topics which engage constituents, Stinson said.

Byers said he believes this is the first time all of the MUD positions have been contested in an election in The Woodlands since the first ones formed in 1976. Election day is May 7. Early voting will begin April 25 and end May 3.For more information, visit www.woodlandswater.org.

Municipal Utility District candidates:

* designates incumbent

The Woodlands

Municipal Utility District 1 board of directors

Two positions open

Robert Leilich*

Walter Lisiewski*

Steve Lawrence

MUD 6 board of directors

Two positions open

Tracy Winters

Neil Gaynor*

Brooke Hamilton*

Aaron Hoffstadter

MUD 7 board of directors

Three positions open

Cristal Shie

Kyle Mays*

Paul R. Nelson*

Nelson Reyes

Rhenalea Beck

Brad Houk

Mark Holt Meinrath

Jennifer Robinson

Jack Munich

MUD 36 board of directors

Two positions open

Vince Fredrick

Sharon DeMarsais

John Yoars*

Michael Meece

Mamie Polk*

MUD 39 board of directors

Two positions open

Erik Berglund*

Kevin Pollock*

Brent Kitchens

Julie Davids

Sean Apostalo

MUD 46 board of directors

Three positions open

Marjorie Podzielinski*

David L. Smith

W. Tim Bush

Fred Lederman

Thomas Schwarzkopf

MUD 47 board of directors

Two positions open

Hugh H. Connett

Anthony Cardiel*

Diane Nielsen

Daniel E. Lewis

Jennifer J. Ronk*

MUD 60 board of directors

Three positions open

Bob Lux*

Donna McAleer

Brent W. Dorsey

Amanda “Bee” Beasley

Richard Carranza

Dale A. Walker

W. Richard Stromatt*

MUD 67 board of directors

Three positions open

Roland Johnson*

Alan Fritsche*

Paul J. Martin*

Reid Davidson

Chap Caughron

Ann Perry

Sources: The Woodlands Water Agency, Montgomery County Elections/Community Impact Newspaper