This page of the site so far (9/20/2021) has a couple of letters from some great ladies, scroll down to see them all. The first posted is from Elysse Boretsky for her level-headed and informed plea to fellow residents to vote in their best interests, the second letter, beneath Elysse's, is from Julie Turner, President of the Texas Patriots PAC and gives you a current example of how our lack of control over development is eroding our hometown's feel and adding to our traffic. There are many reasons to incorporate now and I'll be showcasing these kinds of letters here.
Thanks for your time and research on this important vote.
Friends in The Woodlands, I have lived in The Woodlands for over 5 years. That is not as much as many of you, but it is enough for me to know that this is where I want to stay and raise my children. My children were born in The Woodlands and I work in the area. In The Woodlands people are kind, the schools are great, the services are excellent and the taxes are low. I want this legacy to continue, which is why I will be voting “For Incorporation.” There is much disinformation disseminating through our community and scaring people, which prompted me to make this post. I encourage everyone who is interested in learning about incorporation to attend “An Incorporation Informational Meeting”, held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 6 p.m. 1601 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77380 hosted by the Woodlands Township, https://www.thewoodlandsincorporationstudy.com/ . It will also be live streamed through the Township website www.TheWoodlandsTownship-Tx.gov The Township incorporation study began in 2018 and wrapped up in 2020, https://www.thewoodlandsincorporationstudy.com/ . Three independent consultants evaluated in depth what it would take for The Woodlands to become a city. Two years of research went into this study. Changes are already taking place in The Woodlands and will continue to do so regardless of whether we become a city (incorporate) or remain a township (special purpose district). The question is, do you want to influence these changes or do you want to let developers and counties direct how we change? To me the decision to incorporate is clear and benefits all residents - it is a non-partisan issue - here’s why: 1. We can incorporate and become a city without raising taxes. Yes, our property taxes will remain the same. The incorporation study looked forward 5 years into the future to determine this. If someone tells you otherwise, they are misinformed or spreading disinformation. Read this Houston Chronicle article on the deceptive tactics used to mislead citizens about incorporation back in 2017, https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/amp/Poll-worker-confirms-he-was-paid-to-mislead-10946398.php . In this recent Channel 2 interview you can watch Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner incorrectly proclaim that our taxes will rise massively, https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2021/09/09/the-woodlands-considers-becoming-its-own-city-heres-when-voting-takes-place/ It is unfortunate that even elected officials are spreading disinformation. Please direct people to read unbiased, fact-based materials published by The Woodlands Community magazine. The Woodlands Community magazine publishes information for educational purposes and is not meant to sway anyone’s opinion, https://www.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=6535&l=1 . This One Page summary by The Woodlands Community magazine is an excellent reference to learn more on incorporation, https://www.woodlandsonline.com/npps/story.cfm?nppage=70905 . To review the latest updates go to www.thewoodlandsincorporationstudy.com 2. If we incorporate, the new city council can freeze property taxes for seniors and disabled. The incorporation study has already accounted for this tax freeze. This will help seniors stay in their homes despite appraisal creep or tax rate increases. We cannot do this if we remain a township. I am not personally impacted by this, but I have met wonderful seniors in our community and I fully support this. 3. If we incorporate our government will not get bigger but it will become more accountable to the residents. The township board of 7, will transition into our city mayor and council members until a new election can be held. They will remain unpaid. The present Township board will not take a salary as council members. A home rule charter committee, to be composed of residents, will inscribe that elected officials remain unpaid in the new city. If we do not like how our city council operates our new city, we vote for new officials - simple! I do like how they are operating our township and like that they are fiscally responsible, have a transparent budget, and are actually residents of The Woodlands. The township board has succeeded in lowering our tax rate or keeping it flat for the past 11 years! 4. We will gain local control over important issues like clear cutting, land use, roadways, traffic signals, right of ways, law enforcement, panhandling, noise, fireworks, etc. Currently, these issues are controlled by the counties or the developer. In 2015, Montgomery County tried very hard to extend the Woodlands Parkway to HWY 249 in Tomball. This would have greatly increased traffic and brought more crime to our neighborhoods. Their objective is to connect new, non-Woodland’s residential and commercial developments to I-45 by using Woodland’s roadways. Doing so will increase the value of the non-Woodlands properties but make life worse for Woodlands’ residents. The developers and counties continue to try to find creative ways to connect our roads to their properties and realign traffic through the Woodlands. The Woodlands Pkwy / Woodtrace Pkwy realignment is an example of this. As a city we gain a seat and a vote on the Houston Galveston Area Council where we will be able to influence the approval of new thoroughfares. 5. During times of crisis, we will receive direct federal funding to support our community instead of relying on the counties to do the right thing and share funds. Montgomery County shortchanged The Woodlands ~$6 million in Corona Virus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money. Every county with a population over 500,000 in the State of Texas allocated $55/resident or more of CARES money to their small cites and communities, but not Montgomery County. Harris County treated us equitably giving The Woodlands $715,000 based on the population of Creekside Park. We only received $244,000 out of the $6.1 million requested from Montgomery County. The Woodlands Township is responsible for emergency and disaster response, operating 8 fire stations with 147 firefighters, 82 of whom are paramedics. I hear the sirens everyday - these men and women are working hard to keep us safe. Our township could have used this money to support local emergency needs. Things got worse in 2021, as a township we are ineligible for upwards of ~$20-30 million dollars in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. These funds could have made up for firefighter overtime, sick leave, PPE, and additional safety measures. They could have compensated for 2020 losses in hotel tax and sales tax. Our Township staff reduced expenses by $7 million in order to make up for revenue losses. Nevertheless, the failure to receive federal COVID relief funds, given to other Texas cities, hurts us. We need to stop relying on Montgomery County and stand up for ourselves. 6. Incorporation will ensure that we will never be annexed by the City of Conroe and the City of Houston. Annexation cannot occur until 2057, so this is the least pressing issue, but it is still important to be released from Houston and Conroe’s extra territorial jurisdictions. Right now, with low interest rates, high property values, favorable reserves, and a newly achieved AA+ bond rating, we can become a city without increasing taxes. In 30 years, we may have a less advantageous financial environment. Leaders may have spent down the reserves. Interest rates may be higher and because we are landlocked, our population growth will not keep pace with that of Montgomery County, causing our electoral influence to wane. The incorporation studies are complete. It is time to incorporate now. I do not want our future to be controlled by corporate developers and far-removed county governments. Montgomery County has shown they have little regard for The Woodlands. The developer doesn’t want to lose their control over land use nor millions of dollars in franchise fees that they collect annually from utilities. The developer is using scare tactics with professional looking signs to try and trick us into believing that incorporation will hurt us, proclaiming “Big Government” and “Big Taxes”. Fiddlesticks! An unpaid mayor and council run by 7 locals we choose is not a big government. Finally, I want to say that I respect everyone’s personal opinion on this topic and no matter what happens we will still live in a great city or township. No Woodland’s resident should be scared or lose sleep over this vote. Have a wonderful day. (1), (2) Incorporation Informational Meeting & Incorporation Study https://www.thewoodlandsincorporationstudy.com/(3) Houston Chronicle Article on Deceptive Tactics of Anti-incorporation https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/amp/Poll-worker-confirms-he-was-paid-to-mislead-10946398.php(4) Channel 2 Interview - Disinformation by County Commissioner https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2021/09/09/the-woodlands-considers-becoming-its-own-city-heres-when-voting-takes-place/(5) The Woodlands Community Magazine https://www.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=6535&l=1(6) One Page Summary about Incorporation https://www.woodlandsonline.com/npps/story.cfm?nppage=70905(7) The Woodlands Incorporation Study www.thewoodlandsincorporationstudy.com
The sad picture on the right is Grogan's Mill Shopping Center. Driven through there lately?
It's mostly empty. It looks ripe for redevelopment.
There's an Initial Land Use Designation (ILUD) on that grocery store property, which is actually owned by Randall’s, that says it has to stay a grocery store - per George Mitchell's concept of the villages.
But guess what? There's one entity that could change the ILUD to whatever it wanted. The Howard Hughes Corporation.
The old Randall’s in Grogan’s Mill is for sale. When the price is right, HHC could snap it up and put a big apartment complex there. Commissioner James Noack already expanded the intersection with a double turn lane, not justified by the traffic from that direction. Commissioner Noack held no hearings with local residents, and had no conversations with the Township board before moving ahead with this major change.
At a recent appearance with James Noack, Jim Carmen of the Howard Hughes Corporation confirmed that his company intends to put high density projects up on remaining land.
The Woodlands loses its unique character if that happens.
Big government is not responsive to The Woodlands residents. The Woodlands is unable to veto actions by the county or by developers. The Woodlands represents much less than half of Commissioner Noack’s district, and only a sliver of the Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 commissioners’ districts. If the commissioners or county judge roll over The Woodlands’ wishes, The Woodlands can do little about it.
In the City of the Woodlands, however, residents would have 100% control in electing the city council. A home rule city is authorized by the State of Texas to govern itself, subject only to the constitution and general laws of the state. Any action not specifically prohibited by the state constitution or state statute may be codified in a home rule city, including term limits, and recall procedures.
Big government ends where home rule cities begin.
So, instead of replacing the shopping centers with apartment complexes, what could The City of The Woodlands do with Grogan’s Mill Shopping Center?
Cities have many economic tools at their disposal to revitalize languishing areas. The City of the Woodlands can set up various economic development incentives for specific zones such as tax abatements, tax increment financing, and grants, among other options. A city could make sure the village shopping centers stay shopping centers and also revitalize those areas when needed by providing incentives for new business enterprise.
Residents of The Woodlands can maintain their high quality of life with the hometown villages, trees, and pathways that make this community the #1 place to live by incorporating on November 2, and then continuing down the path to become a home rule city.
Do you still have questions about whether incorporation is right for The Woodlands? Let us know what they are.
If you are undecided, please put this event on your schedule for Thursday:
The Woodlands Township will host an Incorporation Informational Meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 23, 2021, at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, 1601 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380. Residents and businesses are invited to attend to learn more about future governance in The Woodlands and the November election.
Please share these facts with anyone that votes. You're welcome to share images to social media or send in an email to all your friends. Thank you for visiting.
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* Electing leaders that work for us and only us
* Making our own decisions on roads and road expansions
* Local decisions on development changes (re-plats)
* Reduction of bureaucracy by eliminating fragmented government
* Single point focus on drainage and flooding
* Don't allow new or re-developed areas to flood neighbors
* Unified police patrols and community policing
* Formal recognition as a city by post office, feds and state
* Economic development tools (RDZs)
* Permanent freedom from annexation regardless of current legislation or contract