Thursday, August 30, 2007

The road to Governance

Updated 10-14-07 to update and clarify. The Woodlands residents have decided to pursue incorporation via a five step approach. 1) Hire an outside consulting company to lead the residents and political figures to a careful and representative conclusion using quality project management techniques. This has been successfully accomplished. The Woodlands residents participated in an effort to fully understand what they had in common and the direction they wanted to go. It included mapping out a strategy based on what was most important to residents. This effort included asking the mayor of Houston to speak to the residents on his views. Our state senator attended some community meetings and sought a political alliance when we needed it the most, just before the 2007 legislative session. 2) Politically acquire the right to be self governing. Led by our state senator and district house legislator, (a) an alliance was achieved with the city of Houston and Conroe, and (b) two legislative bills were passed enabling The Woodlands to be self governing. 3) Vote on a plan to use TCID as a first step governing body. It already exists and can be utilized for a transition to incorporation. This will be on the ballot this November. To vote, one must be a registered voter. An education campaign has begun on how the resident will be able to deduct their association fees in their tax return of 2008. This can be accomplished by changing the association fee to a TCID tax structure, levied by the county. It will also contain a poison pill, so to speak, to remove the sales tax as a target for financial gain through invocation of Houston's jurisdictional right to annex The Woodlands. For this to be effective, the sales tax needs to be the full 2%. 4) Exist as a special tax district (TCID) until incorporation is possible. This will occur about 2011 when we should start planning for a municipality government for 2014 or later. To be a city, there is much planning ahead, including development of facilities and developing a reasonable governing plan. Shall we have a Mayor or a Business Manager? How would we distribute council representatives and how many? There will be many questions to answer. We need some time to work all this out. 5) Finally comes incorporation with city ordinances and self determination for the quality of life we expect coupled with appropriate governance to ensure our value system. This requires sufficient representation for us to make decisions for the good of the whole and the good of each village or neighborhood.

2 comments:

Michael Donnelly said...

Your site is excellent. Some points though:
1) According to the plan, we can not incorporate until 2014. Some of the TCID baord members terms are up in 2010.
2)There was a amendment added to the Bill that may stop us from ever incorporating.
3)There is no set in stone rule taht assesments will decrease as taxs increase. If you check Kingwood or Clearlake they have taxs and assesments. NOTE: Mt youngest had a CC meet in Kingwood last weekend. They are more heavily wooded and have better mediums.
4)If we vote against TCID rule which is one BILL the other Bill covers our agreement with Houston. Only it is not actually an agreement, it is a proposal that I have read.
I am all for incorporation but it does not require TCID, in fact if we vote against TCID we need only agree to Houston's terms and file to incorporate.
You are definately on tarack and like you I was at the governance meeting, in fact i was one of the captains. You are right, everyone wants incorporation, except the builder.
Why you say, because in a muncipality, the city council must approve all building plans. With TCID the Builder still has the power to build or cut trees as he sees fit no matter what the residents think. I have seen the future plan and the developer projected finish date is 2014,
Keep up the good work.

indianspringsguy said...

The timing of incorporation is dependent on the MUD districts. TCID really has nothing to do with that issue. There is a strong sentiment against paying off the MUD capital and the city of Houston in a short time. There is significant risk in litigation and worse delays if we try to preempt the legalities associated with the MUD districts. The politicans in the MUD districts have significant powers and seemingly never wanted this to occur. Give them the opportunity and there will likely be an issue at high cost. The eventuality probably would be "salvation" by the city of Houston, exactly what the residents of The Woodlands do not want. It is imperative that everyone get behind the TCID plan. It makes the most sense and has the least risk of all the options I have seen to date.