Editor's note: These responses appear in the Oct. 14 edition of Community Impact Newspaper as part of a Q&A with each candidate.

The Woodlands has until 2057 to incorporate until it risks becoming annexed by the cities of Houston or Conroe, according to existing legislation. No timeline has been set, but the township's board of directors has been planning since early this year how to incorporate responsibly when the time comes.

The decision over whether to incorporate will be left up to voters should the board of directors decide to call an election in the future.

See what the nine candidates had to say on the topic:

Position 1 candidates: Are you in favor of incorporation? Why or why not?

Gordy Bunch*

Gordy BunchYes, The Woodlands will become a great Texas city. The only question is in the timing. There is no permanent option to remaining as an unincorporated township because the annexation rights for Houston and Conroe reinstate in 2057, or earlier through legislative action. The choice comes down to our being divided and absorbed into two cities—Houston and Conroe—or become an incorporated city of The Woodlands. The board of directors need to seek legislative improvements, legal advice, hold public hearings, identify pros, cons and allow the residents of The Woodlands to decide when it is appropriate to incorporate.


Amy Lampman

Amy LampmanIncorporation is a complex topic. According to our regional participation agreement, The Woodlands is sheltered from annexation until November 2057. In the meantime, we have special legislation that creates a very efficient form of government and revenue sources. There are many factors to be considered: budget, governance, road enhancements and maintenance, municipal buildings and staff, law enforcement contracts, transition and timeline. I’m in favor of hiring experts, consultants and attorneys that present us with current data so it can be presented to the residents of the township. If the township pays more for similar services and still pays the county tax rate, I do not believe that the benefits outweigh the costs of incorporation.


Bob Leilich

rhl-photo-12-07-1While incorporation may be appropriate in the future, there is no demonstrated urgency for doing so now. We will gain relatively little for the significantly higher cost of becoming a city—a cost that no one has a handle on. The 2012 study was a little more than an educated guess. At this time, the potential costs—and higher property and/or sales taxes to pay for it—far outweigh the benefits. Governance as a township has generally worked well, and additional tweaks, negotiations and perhaps legislative amendments, can make this form of governance even better without the high costs of incorporating. At only six years old, with no precedents in Texas, the township is still maturing. I fully support slowing the push to irreversibly incorporate until we have a firm understanding of the costs, benefits and tradeoffs.





Position 2 candidates: Are you in favor of incorporation? Why or why not?

Mike Bass*

Mike BassAn ill thought out rush to incorporate will put our quality of life and property values at risk, along with the potential for much higher taxes. I am not opposed to incorporating if we do so in the right way, for the right reason and at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayers. Before the township can develop any plan for incorporation, we must first seek legislative clarity as to how we can incorporate when the time comes. Today, all we have is the option to call an election. Given our large size and the fact the township already exists and will not go away, creating a new city is more complex than just one election.


Brian Boniface

Brian BonifaceI am in favor of incorporation, but only when it makes the most sense for our community. We face city-sized issues with limited ability to address those issues. I would very much like to protect all of what drew us here in the first place, preserve our high quality of life and still guide us to our next stages of existence. It is important our future allows the residents of The Woodlands to determine what is best for The Woodlands.






Position 3 candidates: Are you in favor of incorporation? Why or why not?

John Anthony Brown

John Anthony BrownAlthough it is up to the residents to decide the fate of our governing structure, it is up to the board of directors to responsibly prepare a true cost of incorporation. The key benefits of incorporation are multifold in a municipality that functions with self-governance. The new city would have the right to prohibit extensions of our roads and could remove county plans for major new thoroughfares through our community. We could enact ordinances regarding development, removal of trees and other natural resources. This would also halt the encroachment on our desirable and successful community from county and other outside special interests.



Stuart L. Schroeder

Stuart SchroederYes, I favor a responsible path to incorporation. A rapid rush toward incorporation without knowing the true cost will likely lead to a tax increase.

Position 4 candidates: Are you in favor of incorporation? Why or why not?

Chris Grice 

Chris GriceYes, I am in favor of incorporation, but I believe we have only one shot to get it right so we need to take our time and make sure we do it right. There is legislation that has to be passed in order for us to transition from a township to a city. The enabling legislation did a great job of setting up the township, but it did not address transitioning to a city. It is a very complex process to incorporate. We need to do our due diligence. We need to look at the pros and the cons of becoming a city versus staying a township for as long as we can. We need most of all to understand the cost.





Bruce Rieser

Bruce RieserI certainly believe that we should at least plan for possible incorporation. The Woodlands currently constitutes approximately 20 percent of the total Montgomery County population, yet we pay over 38 percent of the county’s property taxes. As the county continues to grow, we will become an even smaller portion of the total population and hence [have] less voting power. In our current state, we are beholden to the county government to address the issues raised by the taxpayers. I would say that our residents have been underwhelmed by the county’s response to their grievances.




*denotes incumbent