The Woodlands Township board to tackle budget scenarios in special meeting

The Woodlands Township
The Woodlands Township board of directors will hold a videoconference budget meeting at 4 p.m. May 21. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Woodlands Township board of directors will hold a videoconference budget meeting at 4 p.m. May 21. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

The financial effect that coronavirus shutdown measures will have on local governments is not yet certain, but The Woodlands Township will begin to plan for budget scenarios at a board of directors meeting May 21.

Among the topics to be discussed at the 4 p.m. videoconference meeting are various scenarios for sales and hotel tax revenue shortfalls in the township as well as how the cancellation of events and programs in the township will affect revenues this year.

According to the meeting agenda, the budget task force created by the board at the outset of the shutdown will examine revenue shortfall scenarios ranging from 10%-50%. The prepared agenda details what funds could be tapped to make up the shortages, such as the township's bond redemption reserve, contingency reserve and sales tax reserve. If a worst-case scenario of a 50% revenue loss came to pass, the township could also tap its capital replacement reserve and an operating reserve that had been established in the event of incorporation, according to the agenda.

A possible incorporation vote was taken off the table earlier this year when the coronavirus shutdowns began.

Other proposals to be discussed at the meeting are reducing the township’s fiscal year 2020-21 operating budget by 3.5%, or $3 million.

Hotel tax shortfalls are also on the agenda, with plans outlined to address revenue loss scenarios of 30%-70%. According to the agenda, shortfalls could be made up by accessing reserve funds and planning decreases in the operating budget for Visit the Woodlands—the township’s convention and visitors bureau. In a worst-case scenario of a 70% loss, Visit the Woodlands could decrease its operating expenses by as much as $1.2 million and use a $1.3 million fund balance to help make up the difference, according to the agenda.
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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