What attracted you to work for the township initially?
After taking business courses in high school, I decided to pursue a degree in accounting at The University of Texas at Austin. When my husband and I decided to move to The Woodlands in 1992, I started looking for a job here and saw that the Community Associations of The Woodlands ... was hiring a senior accountant position. I thought it would be really rewarding to work for the community my family would be living in, so I applied for the job.
As my career progressed with the township, I became interested in and responsible for matters beyond those related to finance and have very much enjoyed being involved in the many aspects of providing services to residents, businesses and visitors in The Woodlands.
What have the most significant changes to the community been in that time? What has stayed the same?
When I first started working in The Woodlands, very little of the Town Center area had been developed. There was no mall, no Market Street, no Hughes Landing. Only the villages of Grogans Mill and Panther Creek were established, and the Village of Cochran’s Crossing was under construction. So, in a word, “growth” has been the most significant change. Residential growth, commercial growth, population growth, growth in the tax base and growth in the types and levels of services provided.
What have you heard from residents as chief concerns this year?
The economy is weighing on many residents’ minds. Residents want to be assured the township will continue to provide desired services and amenities in a cost-effective manner. To gauge residents’ level of satisfaction with services and to assess their priorities, the board of directors has authorized a community survey to be conducted this year.
What do you see as the role and responsibilities of the president and general manager? How is this different from your previous role?
One of the primary roles of the president and general manager is to manage resources and work with township staff to achieve the vision and strategic goals of the board of directors. This includes developing processes that foster cost-effective service delivery, careful oversight of finances, effective communications, skilled project management, timely resolution of matters impacting constituents and outstanding customer service. The president also has a strong duty to employees to ensure they have adequate resources and information to perform their jobs and to provide a work environment that encourages trust, respect and success. While my previous position as assistant general manager also entailed many of these same responsibilities, my new role encompasses the entire township organization.
What will The Woodlands Township need to be conscious of amid current economic challenges, such as inflation?
The [Woodlands] Township board of directors has done a great job of anticipating and planning for economic challenges that could impact the budget. The township uses conservative budget methods and maintains appropriate reserve balances in accordance with best practices established by the national government finance organizations and international credit agencies. By building this type of fiscally responsible flexibility into the budget and five-year business plan, the township can adapt to economic and market changes, such as the ones currently being experienced, without negatively impacting services.
With The Woodlands approaching build-out for single-family homes, how will that affect future projections in areas, such as tax revenue?
The pace of growth for single-family homes in The Woodlands has been declining for the past several years as that segment of the community reaches build-out. That reality is already factored into the township’s financial projections. However, commercial development is still planned and will continue to add to the property tax base. Additionally, sales and use tax revenues are projected to increase, primarily due to growth in the region and continued growth in internet retail transactions. Finally, the successful efforts of Visit The Woodlands are helping to expand the township’s hotel tax base.
What kind of collaborations can The Woodlands undertake in the coming years with other area entities?
The township board of directors held its first strategic planning session in February of this year and will be conducting others in the coming months to identify key initiatives and plan projects that benefit the community. Details will be communicated as those decisions are made.
Is there anything you would like to share about your family or personal interests?
I am so fortunate that my parents, three daughters and four grandchildren all live in The Woodlands area. We spend a lot of time together as a family, which makes me very happy. I am also honored to serve on the board of directors for Mosaics of Mercy, a wonderful organization here in Montgomery County that helps families navigate mental health and addiction recovery.