Chamber, residents urge delay on possible incorporation vote date in The Woodlands

The Woodlands Township board of directors met July 22. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands Township board of directors met July 22. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Woodlands Township board of directors met July 22. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

As of July 22, The Woodlands Township board of directors has not called an incorporation election for Nov. 2, but a local chamber of commerce and a residents' group have asked the board to consider pushing the prospective date back when the time comes to make that decision.




Linda Nelson, the chair of the board for The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, on July 22 presented a resolution from the chamber asking for the township’s board of directors to delay a vote on incorporation beyond this November, and a representative of the group Township Future also spoke on the topic at the meeting. Several dozen members of the chamber of commerce were present at the meeting, filling most of the seats in the board room.

Among other reasons, the chamber resolution cites the need for more education among the public about items such as taxation and law enforcement.

Ted Stanley, chair for Township Future, a residents' group that advocates on various local issues, echoed the comments.

"There is no valid justification to radically changing our government structure at this time," Stanley said.


He also noted residents will need time to absorb information about potential costs and for the township to financially recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.

However, other residents spoke out in favor of incorporation at the meeting.

"Put it on the ballot; let me decide; we need to be respected as a city," said Ana Cosio, who said she has resided in The Woodlands since 1995. She cited local control of roads and the ability to receive federal funding among her concerns.


The board of directors has until Aug. 16 to put an election on the ballot this November, according to state law.

Among the remaining items to be completed following the incorporation study, which was largely completed in early 2020, is development of a model based on current financial information including a tax calculator for residents.

The incorporation discussion was paused in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before the tax calculator and final public information sessions were scheduled.

Several board of directors members spoke about the inevitability of an incorporation election at some point, whether it is now or at a later date.

“Just because we choose not to be ready for the final exam doesn’t mean ... asking the teacher to postpone [it]. It’s going to happen whether or not we’re ready ... you have to get informed,” Director John Anthony Brown said.

Board Vice Chair Bruce Rieser said even if incorporation is voted on and approved, the process of becoming a city will take about five years.

"This whole process will take another five years if and when the public decides that we’ve grown up enough to be a city," Rieser said. "It will be another five years before we are able to implement the entire array of municipal services that a city should provide."

Karen Dempsey, assistant to the president/general manager of The Woodlands Township, told the board the base budget for the financial model has not been finalized because it is waiting on the certified tax rolls from Montgomery and Harris counties. Those should be received in early August, and the financial model can be finalized by about Aug. 13, she said. A community engagement public forum could be held in late September, she 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.


MOST RECENT

The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to install medians along 5.8 miles of FM 1092 from Hwy. 59 to Hwy. 6 in Missouri City. (Courtesy Fotolia)
As FM 1092 median project goes out to bid, some Missouri City Council Members still object

Construction on the project to install medians on FM 1092—also known as Murphy Road—is expected to begin in the winter and last for seven months, according to officials with TxDOT.

At the Sept. 14 Harris County Commissioners Court meeting, County Administrator David Berry, top left, presents proposed tax rates to commissioners Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey, Judge Lina Hidalgo, and commissioners Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County commissioners propose lower tax rates with split vote

While the proposed tax rate is lower than the current rate, tax payers may actually end up paying more since the values of homes statewide increased this year, according to County Administrator David Berry.

Harris County Precinct 4 and Montgomery County Precinct 3 are coordinating for a Gosling Road project. (Courtesy Montgomery County Precinct 3)
Montgomery County funds $4 million for Gosling Road project

The project will widen Gosling Road and a bridge over Spring Creek. It is anticipated to begin construction later this year.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough tours the COVID-19 antibody infusion center that opened Aug. 16.
(Courtesy Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough on Facebook)
Federal policy change reduces COVID-19 antibody treatment drugs coming to Montgomery County infusion center

A change in how the federal government distributes the monoclonal antibody treatment means a change for regional antibody centers administering treatments.

About 62% of Harris County residents ages 12 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County commissioners terminate $11 million Elevate Strategies vaccine outreach contract

“There’s absolutely nothing done here that was in any way deviating from the most adequate protocols, and what is sad … [is] that the COVID response is being politicized." -Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

The 10,500-square-foot Dogtopia facility will span five open playrooms for dogs to enjoy. (Courtesy John Ledbetter)
Dogtopia opening day care facility for high-energy dogs on Durango Creek Drive

Owner John Ledbetter said the new Magnolia location will include five open playrooms for dogs.

Entergy Texas crews and contractors are working to restore power safely and quickly while following COVID-19 guidelines, according to a news release from Entergy Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here is when Entergy will restore power to Montgomery County customers following Tropical Storm Nicholas

Entergy says most customers to have power restored Sept. 14, with hardest-hit areas set to regain power by Sept. 15.

Montgomery County discussed coronavirus case counts during a Sept. 14 meeting. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County begins seeing slight downward trend from peak in coronavirus cases

While the trends are beginning to decline from the county's peak, ICU beds are noted to still be mostly full.

The Woodlands Township reported no damage to township properties, and no significant events occurred in The Woodlands due to Tropical Storm Nicholas. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands solid waste services resume; COVID-19 testing closed due to Tropical Storm Nicholas

Curative COVID-19 testing sites and The Woodlands Express bus service are closed Sept. 14. Waste collection services, Town Center Trolleys and township facilities are operating.

Shelters around Houston opened to help those affected by Hurricane Nicholas on Sept. 14. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Shelters open to aid those affected by Hurricane Nicholas

Shelters have been opened by the American Red Cross to help those in need following the storm.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said there are currently no reported injuries or fatalities from Tropical Storm Nicholas. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook)
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo encourages residents to stay off roads, reports no fatalities due to Tropical Storm Nicholas

Hidalgo also said she expects all Harris County COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites to be open Sept. 15.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County on Sept. 14 resumed limited services. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
METRO operating on limited service in aftermath of Hurricane Nicholas

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County on Sept. 14 resumed limited services.