Township of Woodlands: Township of Woodlands holds special board meeting; Corrects misinformation in the community
October 1, 2021
THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS (October 1, 2021) – The Township of Woodlands Board of Directors held a special meeting on Thursday, September 30, 2021, open to the public, and addressed the misinformation being disseminated in the community.
The Board of Directors discussed the reports regarding the incorporation election that have been attributed to the Howard Hughes Society in local media reports, at community meetings and on social media. The two commissioned reports, âA Report on The Woodlands Township Incorporation Financial Modelâ, as well as âA Critique of the Novak Consulting Group’s Law Enforcement Reportâ, did not use updated figures for 2021 and underestimated the financing of the canton concerning the financial model of incorporation of the canton.
âYou can vote for incorporation or vote against,â said President Gordy Bunch, âbut we want our residents to at least have the facts and correct information on the data so that they can educate themselves.â
Deputy Chief Financial Officer Monique Sharp detailed the factual information regarding incorporation and its associated costs based on the Township’s Three-Year Incorporation Planning Study and the related financial model that constitutes the base of the tax rate included in the next month of November. Election of February 2, 2021 which will determine if the community becomes the town of The Woodlands. Ms. Sharp’s detailed description of these two reports can be found online with claims posted by another local developer: Law Enforcement | Financial incorporation model
Ms. Sharp began her presentation by noting that the township, as a government agency, must provide transparent, timely and accurate financial information prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, the board of government accounting standards and best practices advocated by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
Equally important, the township’s financial information must be accurate for credit rating agencies, bondholders, bond disclosure counsel, banking and other financial institutions, and auditors. Earlier this year, S&P Global Ratings upgraded its rating on The Woodlands Township’s General Bond (GO) debt to AA +, placing the township in the top 4% of Texas state government agencies. No other special purpose district has achieved a higher score.
Misinformation circulating in the general public, and not produced by the Township of Woodlands, regarding incorporation indicates that a higher tax rate will be demanded from a new municipality. In fact, the board of directors set the maximum initial tax rate that is part of the corporate vote initiative at $ 0.2231 per one hundred dollars ($ 100) of taxable property valuation, which which is the same tax rate currently assessed by the Canton. Whether as a township or as a city, the township’s financial model maintains the same tax rate throughout the five-year plan.
“There is no intention of this board of directors to increase tax rates,” said Chairman Bunch. “We are benefiting from a change in the law for Internet sales tax collection to help fund budget items that create the high level of services and amenities expected by our residents and businesses.”
This is the language of the ballot. Voters registered in The Woodlands can vote âforâ or âagainstâ:
TOWNSHIP OF WOODLANDS – PROPOSAL A Authorize the incorporation of the District of the Township of Woodlands as a Type A corporation and the adoption of an initial property tax rate of not more than $ 0.2231 per one hundred dollars ($ 100) d ‘assessment of taxable property
THE TOWNSHIP OF WOODLANDS – PROPOSAL B Upon the incorporation of the District of the Township of Woodlands into a type A general law town to be called the Town of The Woodlands, the transfer of rights, powers, privileges, duties, objectives, functions , responsibilities, authority to issue bonds and power to impose taxes from the District of the Township of Woodlands to the Town of The Woodlands
The reports were based on outdated information rather than the township’s updated incorporation financial model approved by council this summer. Videos and documents containing new information were and are available to the public online prior to the publication of these non-municipal consultant reports in mid-September:
The reports of consultants commissioned by HHC resulted in the dissemination of inaccurate information in the community of The Woodlands. When comparing the financial model of the incorporation of the canton to the reports, the differences are evident through these facts:
The total amount by which the report commissioned by HHC understates the funding available in the Woodlands Township Incorporation Model is $ 28.3 million plus $ 1.25 million on an ongoing annual basis. The other report commissioned by HHC underestimates the amount available for law enforcement from $ 22.3 million to $ 24.8 million.
President Bunch looked at the misinformation circulating in the public regarding law enforcement. âEnforcement was a crucial point for us as a board to ensure we had a multi-year transition agreement and that public safety was taken into account in the event that a vote for incorporation would be adopted, âhe said. The township currently fully funds 92 MPs through the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. A five-year transition agreement, approved less than 12 months ago between Montgomery County and the Township of Woodlands, ensures that Law enforcement services will remain at current levels throughout the transition period Each year of the transition, the Town of The Woodlands would add more of its own officers to its own public safety team while Montgomery County would gradually reduce and accordingly the number of sheriff’s deputies funded by The Woodlands contract. The units would also cover residents and businesses in Montgomery County and Harris County. “
Early voting begins Monday, October 18, 2021, and voters must be registered to vote in their county of residence. The registration deadline is Monday, October 4, 2021.
In other areas, the Woodlands Township Board has approved an amendment to the law firm / client engagement agreement with Messer, Fort, McDonald PLLC;
For more information, please visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov. The meeting can be viewed in its entirety at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/meetingvideos.
This press release was produced by the Township of Woodlands. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.