Because the rate is below the no-new-revenue rate, which would generate the same amount of revenue as the previous fiscal year, no public hearing is required, officials said. The rate is a 16% decrease from the 2022 rate of $0.2231, and it is the lowest in the township’s 12-year history, officials said.
"You cannot go higher than what you propose today, but you can go lower," township President and CEO Monique Sharp said.
The fiscal year in The Woodlands Township runs from January to December.
Tax rates from entities throughout the region, such as Conroe ISD, have dropped this year as property assessments have grown. From 2021-22, the average market value of properties increased 29.8% and 21%, respectively, in Montgomery and Harris counties, according to data from the county appraisal districts.
Included in the proposed 2023 budget is funding for several initiatives, such as improvements to fire stations and parks and recreation facilities.
On the second day of budget workshops Aug. 23, the board discussed about $10 million in immediate needs for The Woodlands Fire Department, such as improvements for Fire Station No. 5 on West Branch Crossing Drive and the township’s Emergency Training Center as well as a new company of firefighters for the west side of The Woodlands.
Other items considered for the 2023 budget are adding a 13th officer position to the contract with Harris County Precinct 4 for law enforcement, new amenities at Bear Branch Park and a pathway along Kuykendahl Road. The board also discussed improvements needed for parks identified in the 2022 Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment, for which an initial phase could potentially begin in 2023. Parks and recreation needs include improvements at Alden Bridge Park and Alden Bridge Sports Park as well as a new dog park.
Developing amenities that generate revenue for the township were also discussed, such as improvements to Texas TreeVentures. The board also discussed a proposal to develop a $1.5 million lazy river amenity in Bear Branch Park.
Board Chair Gordy Bunch also announced after the Aug. 24 regular meeting that the mounted patrol service in the township will be fully funded in 2023 in the proposed budget, an item he said residents had inquired about.
Funding for one-time expenses such as budget initiatives was proposed through using township reserve funds, which come about through positive variances in sales tax and other revenues.
“In a span of six years, we have dealt with many natural disasters, a worldwide pandemic, the highest inflation in 50 years, yet the township is in strong financial condition due to great decisions recommended and made by staff and several boards over the years,” Bunch said in a statement. “Our residents and businesses should see a much lower tax rate and resulting tax assessment reduction from The Woodlands Township.”