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”My question is that, why does The Woodlands not want to be a home rule city?

If you’re a home rule city you can do just about all of this on your own, as opposed to having to come to the legislature and ask for permission to do it, cause you’re certainly big enough?”

I guess I’m asking why you’re not going straight for being a municipality like most of the other people are that are greater than five thousand? ”

Dr. Stuart Spitzer HD 04 2015-2017 County Affairs Committee HB 4191.

On one of the many trips to the legislature made by The Woodlands Township or its precursor forms over the years a legislator finally asked why the township keeps returning to gradually increase and tweak its power instead of taking the comprehensive step of  becoming a home rule city.

It’s an important question that needs to be set before the voters sooner rather than later.

Now the The Woodlands Township has spent nearly One Million Dollars without voter approval on studies to address that very question.

Today, the study appears to have been completed but stopped short of consideration by the taxpayers of the community owing , we are told to the financial crisis and impacts on revenue brought on by the statewide emergency pandemic health declaration.

Residents of The Woodlands Township who are even aware that incorporation is under consideration have been confronted with a simplistic binary choice as if that is all there is to know. 

On one side are the hard core establishment sensitive Never Incorporate side who hold that everything is fine the way it is and that incorporation will be cost prohibitive and has zero benefits. Never Incorporate leaves us with the fragmented and duplicative developer favored appointee model.

On the other side are the City of The Woodlands Dream Weavers offering carefully curated but limited incorporation benefits package that includes controlling our own destiny and obtaining a better seat at the federal funding table. City of The Woodlands Dream Weavers advocate excluding MUDs from incorporation for several reasons, mostly to make their plan palatable.  An incorporation dream without MUDs denies voters the true autonomy & control of destiny advertised.

Both sides seem to brush aside critically important and viable structural change options that if implemented would accrue far more meaningful benefits and improvement to the autonomy, control of outcomes in crucial water, flooding, transportation, law enforcement, development standards and more along with the underlying fiscal considerations that affect Residents today and in the future.

New we have the work product of the high priced incorporation study in hand we have adequate information with which to base and array of the three or four true options that must be placed before voters for a decision contrary to the desires of the two camps mentioned.

Each of these options of variations of them, need to find their way on the ballot for voter decision as early as May 2021. The carefully curated City of The Woodlands, minus MUDS Dream Weaver plan.

  1. 1. No Incorporation, maintain the status quo.

2. Merger of All special districts ( MUDs & Township into one without incorporation)Yielding- elimination of developer favored appointee model, elimination redundant spending, uniform management and control of water issues at township. MUDs powers would transfer – including police power specifically denied in Township enabling legislation. No incorporation necessary.

3. Incorporation to City of The Woodlands, abolishing MUDS combining the true cost of ownership, control of critical infrastructure, delivering the control or water we are already funding, roads, and law enforcement and other benefits such as Homestead Exemption, Charter amendments, eliminate intergovernmental decision bureaucracy. Simultaneously, board and residents must insist SJRA currently under sunset review divest its Woodlands Division to residents who have already paid for that infrastructure. ( this could also be achieved in option 2 )

4. The carefully curated City of The Woodlands, minus MUDS Dream Weaver plan.

I’m following Walter Cooke’s campaign advice with this website and keeping it simple going in. While there are many details embedded in these simple bullet points my mission is to bring them to debate with your help.

We don’t need to sit by and watch a cage fight over two diametrically opposed positions that will decide our destiny.

That’s my message for Woodlands voters.

Adrian Heath 8/14/2020

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