Keep The Woodlands Township property tax rate low. At .227 per $100 valuation, The Woodlands property owners have one of the lowest tax rates in the area. Continue the Township Board's reduction of property tax rates to prevent the effective tax rate, and homeowners' subsequent tax bills, from increasing with rising appraised values.
The Woodlands currently exists under the extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, of the Cities of Houston and Conroe. In 2007, The Woodlands Township signed Regional Participation Agreements, RPAs, with those same cites, who agreed to allow The Woodlands to incorporate starting in 2014 and continuing until 2057 without threat of annexation. Although The Woodlands is not in imminent danger of annexation, if The Woodlands doesn't incorporate Houston will have the ability to annex the Township in 2057. That is 38 years and 19 Texas State Legislative cycles from now. Houston's tax rate is currently 2.5X higher than The Woodlands.
Benefits to incorporation include: authorizing and maintaining roadways and waterway access in an enhanced and Woodlands-centric manner; planning and platting property; determining land use; recovering liquor taxes, franchise fees, traffic fines, and municipal court fees; and obtaining Federal and State grants for flooding mitigation, traffic management by having a vote at the table of the Houston Galveston Area Council and qualifying as a "city".
Costs of incorporation include: assuming responsibility for public safety, which may remain contracted through the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department or establishing a new municipal police force; constructing new and maintaining existing roadways; operating a municipal court; changing how current taxes are used to service Township debt; and deciding whether to absorb The Woodlands MUDs immediately, gradually, or allow them to remain autonomous in providing water, sewer, and drainage services.
State laws passed after the signing of the RPAs may or may not apply if The Woodlands residents wish to avoid annexation after 2057. State laws may be rescinded or replaced by future State Legislatures. Historically, Texas judges have favored law that existed at the time of signing of a contract over newer law.
The Township should continue to study the pros and cons of incorporations, maintain transparency, and determine the best options to go forward with incorporation. The voters will make the ultimate decision on the best solution. The Woodlands should strive to permanently secure its autonomy and independent local rule. Becoming a city will strengthen The Woodlands position to prevent unwanted road expansions and enhance its ability to mitigate flooding, maintain first-class amenities and sustain outstanding services and quality of life for future generations to grow up and raise their families.
Read more about The Woodlands Incorporation Studies here.
TREES, TRAILS, POOLS & PARKS
Maintain George Mitchell’s vision of a sustainable, wooded sanctuary for people, pets and nature. Preserve and replenish trees, enhance amenities, and support local businesses that are Woodlands-centric and provide value to our residents. Protect the safety of residents and visitors, especially our children, as they enjoy The Woodlands pools, parks and trails. Revisit safety and usage guidelines at highly utilized facilities, like the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center in Creekside Park. Maintain the serene verdant habitat for which The Woodlands is renowned. Keep The Woodlands wonderful and the best place in America to live, work, worship, learn, play, and raise a family.
TRAFFIC & FLOOD MANAGEMENT
Develop and approve projects based on their benefit to residents and local businesses in The Woodlands. Put The Woodlands residents first in decision making. Pedestrian, motorist, bicyclist, and pet safety are primary. Avoid unnecessary expansion of roads into The Woodlands that will imperil the safety and quality of life of the residents and workers, such as, The Woodlands Parkway expansion initiative. Prepare for the next "Harvey" or another natural disaster by building on existing and creating new partnerships with local, state, and federal authorities to address the Spring Creek drainage area. Seek grant funding that will minimize the impact on municipal taxes while improving safety and quality of life for residents of The Woodlands.