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The Woodlands Township Doubles Down on Incorporation Misinformation

What Happened to Transparency? 

The Woodlands Township has doubled down on their erroneous and inconsistent incorporation plans. On Monday, Sept. 27, the Township issued a press release responding to independent, expert analyses, which identified major flaws in the Township’s law enforcement and financial plans that would lead to either higher taxes or a dramatic reduction in services like public safety. In the press release, they restated or distorted incorrect data identified by the experts and made false claims to try to disprove their conclusions. 

“The Township’s responses highlight troubling inconsistencies and a disappointing lack of transparency, underscoring their rushed, risky and expensive attempt to incorporate The Woodlands,” said Richard Franks, local resident and Preserve The Woodlands Advisory Board Member.  


The Township falsely claims: 

o   “The consultant’s claim that law enforcement operations and capital were underfunded by $7.7 million was based on analyzing a different law enforcement model than the one approved by The Woodlands Township’s Board of Directors.” 

o   “The consultants understated funding for already current Township contracted law enforcement personnel by $11.4 million.” 

o   “The consultants understated available Township funding for law enforcement vehicles by $6.1 million.” 


Independent law enforcement experts reviewed the Board-approved “The Woodlands Township, Texas – 2019 Law Enforcement Analysis,” dated January 15, 2020, and “Incorporation Study Consolidated Report” dated May 15, 2020, and “The Interlocal Agreement (ILA) between Montgomery County and The Woodlands Township for Law Enforcement Services in the Event of Municipal Incorporation.” These are the law enforcement incorporation documents made available to the public, which are posted to the Township’s Incorporation Website

On July 22, 2021, in a response to requests from residents that incorporation not be rushed to the November ballot to provide greater opportunity to understand the issues, members of the Board pointed out that “the study has been completed for quite some time,” (46:00) criticized residents for not paying close enough attention, admonished us to study the plan they provided online, and assured us their plan provided a reliable blueprint for establishing our own police department.  This is the plan independent experts studied and concluded is insufficient to ensure public safety, including Sheriff Rand Henderson and Constable Ryan Gable. 

If there is a different law enforcement model that has been endorsed and accepted by the Township, it has not been shared with residents. 


“The consultants understated available Township funding for law enforcement vehicles by $6.1 million.” 


The only Board-approved law enforcement plan shared with the public incorrectly stated that the Township currently owns the patrol vehicles and the cost for new vehicles would be $51,821.  It was not until the expert analysis was made public that the Board corrected its numbers to bring them in line with what outside law enforcement experts recommended.  The original cost of the patrol cars is still included in the law enforcement plan provided to the public and available on the incorporation website


“The consultants understated funding for additional Township direct law enforcement personnel upon incorporation by $4.8 million to $7.3 million.” 


The Board refuses to show voters the true cost of incorporation, including the cost of a full-service police department for Year 5 after incorporation. According to Board member Bruce Rieser at a February 20, 2020, incorporation planning session, “…the funding that we did for the Hybrid Model also assumed a fully-loaded cost for Year 5 for our own department.” (25:40) 

The total costs being ignored by the Board amount to $7.65 million in Year 5, when the full-service model is scheduled to take effect, requiring a 15.6 percent property tax rate increase or severe cuts in law enforcement services. 



“The consultant’s report did not include $5.9 million already in the Township base budget for public works.” 


According to their own slides from the public information meeting, the $5.9 million is budgeted for STREETSCAPING, such as planting flowers along roadways. This is far different from road and bridge maintenance. Once incorporated, the new city currently plans to spend more on landscaping ($5.9 million) than actual road repair ($4.8 million).  


“The consultant was off by $2.5 million plus an additional $1.25 million budgeted annually by the Township for concrete and asphalt street rehabilitation.” 

THE TRUTH:   An independent CPA correctly identified that HR Green, the Township’s Consultant for public works, at a July 24, 2019, Board meeting, clearly recommends $6.25 million for concrete and $2.5 million for asphalt.



“The consultant was off by $12.2 million on the incorporation reserve balance in the year of 2025 developed by the Township.” 

THE TRUTH:    The Township, in its presentation on September 16, 2021, confirmed an Incorporation Reserve balance of $20.8 million at the time of incorporation. It also confirmed there are $31.5 million of capital projects allocated to the Incorporation Reserve, $10.7 more than the reserve balance at incorporation

Texas Public Policy Foundation Warns Against Incorporation

Limited-Government, Conservative Think Tank: ‘Why mess with success?’

THE WOODLANDS – The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), the state’s premier limited-government, conservative public policy think tank, has joined the mounting opposition to incorporating The Woodlands, questioning the wisdom of the plan, its affordability, and why it would even be considered in the first place.

“Despite its success as a township, its board of directors is pushing for The Woodlands to incorporate as a city,” wrote James Quintero, Policy Director for the TPPF’s Government for the People campaign. “The bigger question is why mess with success?”

TPPF points out that proponents’ projected costs for incorporation, which independent analyses say were understated by nearly $27 million, simply don’t add up. Creating a new police department from scratch would be expensive and could result in a less safe community at a time when crime is rising across America.

“Are residents of The Woodlands willing to accept a lower level of public safety? Probably not—but that’s what incorporation into a city, under the current plan, could bring,” Quintero wrote.

The conservative think tank also points out that a frequently cited reason to incorporate – avoiding annexation – is unnecessary since forced annexation is now illegal under Texas law.

“The Woodlands should be left in its pristine state — with its small but efficient township structure, its unique identity as a haven in the midst of the chaotic Houston metropolitan area, and its strong non-governmental institutions,” Quintero wrote. “Adding a layer of bureaucracy atop the township’s success would be like throwing a fire blanket atop a small blaze. The effect would be suffocation.

“In The Woodlands, the truism really is true—its government is governing best because it’s governing least.”

 CLICK HERE to read more on TPPF’s position on incorporation.

Incorporation is Bad for Business: Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce Against Props A&B

The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce has passed a resolution opposing incorporation (propositions A&B).

The Chamber, which represents more than 1,200 businesses and is the largest business association in the Houston region, included several key reasons for their opposition:

  • The current low tax, pro-business environment attracts hotels, restaurants, and quality businesses. The Woodlands as a city will unleash a new tax rate, new city service charges, and a new taxing authority while creating no new services.
  • The Woodlands Township presented the financial data to the Township Board on Friday, August 13 before the deadline of August 16 to place Incorporation on the ballot, leaving an inadequate amount of time for the board and community to fully understand the impact.
  • Local law enforcement experts revealed substantial gaps, shortfalls, errors and omissions in the consultant study funded by The Woodlands Township, the document endorsed as a reliable blueprint for establishing a new police department should voters elect to incorporate. 
  • In addition to budgetary omissions, the law enforcement expert’s report reveals a lack of understanding of the operational realities of a modern-day police force.
  • Action of incorporating can never be undone, and will cause massive changes in the function, cost, and efficiency of our current governance model.
  • A significant amount of The Woodlands Township incorporation reserve funds have been accumulated by pre-taxing residents and businesses within The Woodlands. The Woodlands Township should provide an alternative plan for utilization of these funds should incorporation fail at the ballot box in November

To read the full resolution CLICK HERE

VIDEO: Montgomery County Sheriff says ‘Now is not the time to dismantle your law enforcement’

Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson says he shares the concerns of law enforcement experts who have identified critical deficiencies in the Woodlands Township’s law enforcement incorporation plan.

“I have examined The Township’s law enforcement incorporation plan and share the concerns of law enforcement experts who have identified critical deficiencies,” Sheriff Henderson said. “At a time when crime is rising across America, now is not the time to dismantle your law enforcement.

“My team works hard every day to protect this community, and we don’t want that to change.”

The law enforcement plan, which has been endorsed by The Woodlands Board of Directors as a blueprint for creating a new police department, drastically understates (by many millions of dollars) the costs of providing law enforcement services, neglects to plan for many vital police operations, and fails to address costly compliance and liability issues.

If The Woodlands were to incorporate, the only choice would be raising taxes dramatically or cutting community protection from current levels.

To view the video CLICK HERE.

Bait and Switch: The Woodlands Township Board Adds $5 Million to Costs of Incorporation

The expected cost of incorporation is already skyrocketing. In just three weeks since The Woodlands Township Board voted to put incorporation on the November 2 ballot, the cost of incorporation has ballooned by $5 million, with no explanation.

Residents discovered the additional $5 million in costs when the Township shared current incorporation financial slides during the September 16 meeting that differed from those endorsed by the board when they put incorporation on the ballot on August 13. “Incorporation is getting more expensive by the day, increasing by $5 million in just the last three weeks according to the Township’s own new financial estimates,” said Roger Goertz, resident of The Woodlands. “This further calls into question the credibility of their incorporation plan. The board endorsed a plan with different numbers than the ones they are using today, promising residents no new taxes and later increasing costs. This is the classic bait and switch.”

Recent independent expert analysis found that The Woodlands Township Board’s incorporation financial model contains major miscalculations. The rushed vote to place incorporation on the November ballot just hours after presenting the model to the public left no time for residents, or even members of the board, to carefully review the numbers or ask questions. 

“This is not the transparency we were promised when the board undertook the Incorporation Planning Study,” said Goertz. “The future of The Woodlands cannot depend on a plan that is rushed, risky and growing more expensive by the day.”

Experts Express Serious Concerns with The Woodlands Township’s Incorporation Law Enforcement Plan

Law enforcement experts, including those who currently provide public safety to The Woodlands, have expressed serious concerns with the law enforcement plan provided by The Novak Consulting Group and included in the Township’s Incorporation Planning Study.

The plan, which has been endorsed by the Board of Directors as a blueprint for creating a new police department, drastically understates (by many millions of dollars) the costs of providing law enforcement services, neglects to plan for many vital police operations, and fails to address costly compliance and liability issues.

The full report can be found HERE.

“We have no confidence in the law enforcement plan’s financial projections. In our opinion, the plan falls significantly short of providing a reliable blueprint for ensuring public safety in The Woodlands.”

Tim Oettmeier, Former Executive Assistant Chief of Police, Houston Police Department

“Leaders in law enforcement had some concerns about the validity of those numbers (from the Novak study), so whenever I saw the study from Chief Oettmeier, who I have a lot of respect for, these were much more valid numbers and really spoke to what it takes to run a police department.”

Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson

“I stand behind the recently released assessment showing a lack of funding for law enforcement by a future city of The Woodlands and do not see a valid reason to incorporate as a city. We offer great law enforcement services through my agency and the Sheriff’s Department, making The Woodlands, Texas, one of the safest places to live, work, and play.”

Montgomery County Constable, Precinct 3, Ryan Gable

“The Township’s law enforcement plan is significantly deficient in many areas and does not include many operations fundamental to policing. It fails to properly identify and assess the cost of law enforcement operations and services, causing the financial projections to be grossly understated.”

Joe Fenninger, Former Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer, Houston Police Department

Residents of The Woodlands Speak Out Against Incorporation

Residents of The Woodlands are speaking up against the risky, rushed and expensive effort to incorporate our community.

Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack spoke to the Commercial Real Estate Association of safety, roads, taxes and our quality of life. At the same event, former State Representative Rob Eissler spoke about h Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack spoke to the Commercial Real Estate Association of Montgomery County about the risks of incorporation. He addressed the impact incorporating would have on public safety, roads, taxes and our quality of life. At the same event, former State Representative Rob Eissler spoke about his time in the legislature, his efforts to protect The Woodlands from annexation, and how forced annexation is ILLEGAL in Texas today.  CLICK HERE to watch the video.

Long-time resident of The Woodlands Danny Signorelli joined J.J. Hollie, President and CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, for a conversation about the dangers of incorporation and the financial miscalculations presented in the Township Board’s financial model.

He does a great job breaking down the financial aspects of incorporation and its impact on residents and businesses. It’s worth your time to take a listen and is a great resource to share. You can find it HERE.

Cindy Bryson, a 32 plus-year resident of The Woodlands, is lending her voice to the effort against incorporation. In a new video, she shares why she believes The Woodlands is a special place worth preserving:

“The Woodlands is special, it’s our hometown, but if we incorporate, it will change our community forever,” she says. “It’s risky and rushed and expensive.” You can watch her video, which launched this week. CLICK HERE.

Expert Analysis: Incorporation Would Cost $26.8 Million More Than Advertised

An independent, expert analysis of The Woodlands Township Board’s Incorporation Financial Model reveals major miscalculations, debunking promises that The Woodlands could somehow pay no new taxes to maintain our high level of services, even after undertaking new city obligations such as road and bridge maintenance, a new public works department, and the creation of a new police department.

According to 25-year CPA and past-President of the Houston CPA Society, Bill Frazer, the Board understates the total funds needed for incorporation by $26.8 MILLION.

The report also finds:

  • The Board overspends the unapproved, pre-taxed $21 million “incorporation reserve fund” by $10.7 million.
  • A $9.4 million understatement of a new city’s annual operating expenses.
  • A $3 million understatement of one-time start-up capital expenses for a new police department, according to the Board’s own Incorporation Financial Model.
  • A $4.7 million annual public works understatement when compared to the budgets of peer cities.
  • The $7.6 million in franchise fees projected by the Board represents $6.6 million in entirely new fees –– the equivalent of a 3.62-cent property tax rate increase per $100 valuation.

This report confirms that incorporation would require significant tax hikes and new fees on residents and businesses.

The entire report can be downloaded HERE.

Incorporating as a city would result in higher taxes and fees, bigger government, and a lower quality of life.