The Woodlands Scores a Major Legislative Victory
After years of hearing from former Township Board Directors that as an unincorporated area and the state’s only township, The Woodlands could not collect mixed beverage tax proceeds for local use, our new Township Board of Directors committed to taking the issue to the Texas Legislature. After just six months on the job and with thanks to our local legislators, HB 5311 is now law, allowing The Woodlands to capture approximately $1 million in annual tax revenue that would otherwise have gone to the state.
In addition, HB 5311 allows The Woodlands Township Board of Directors to create a Tourism Public Investment District (TPID). A funding mechanism endorsed by our local hotels, the TPID will allow them to assess a fee on hotel room stays that will be set aside to generate increased tourism through marketing efforts, as well as incentives that can be used to attract and retain conferences and large group visits to The Woodlands.
Hats off to our new Board of Directors for their great work pursuing this legislation which will result in significant new revenue and tourism for our unincorporated township!
Why We Love The Woodlands: The Great Outdoors
From its inception, The Woodlands was dedicated to creating an environment where residents could enjoy a high quality of life with easy access to public recreational spaces, entertainment, employment, and a wide variety of homes.
Outdoor enthusiasts, in particular, have always found lots to love about The Woodlands.
Set deep in Montgomery County’s piney woods, The Woodlands’ 220 miles of nature trails offer residents access to hiking, biking, and exercise close to where they live and work. In fact, any of the 151 community parks can be reached via a short walk from local neighborhoods.
For those interested in Southeast Texas’ flora and fauna, the George Mitchell Nature Preserve hosts over 1,700 acres of protected forest as part of Montgomery County’s Spring Creek Greenway, including species of gray foxes and bald eagles.
The preserve’s miles of hiking trails and biking paths are ideal for those looking to break a sweat or simply enjoy The Woodlands’ lush natural surroundings.
As the only natural creek running through Montgomery County, Spring Creek and the 63 lakes and ponds in The Woodlands are ideal for a variety of outdoor activities.
Lakes Edge Boat House at Hughes Landing and Riva Row Boat House, which can be reached by a short walk from The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, offers kayak, water bike, and paddleboard rentals to those seeking to enjoy The Woodlands Waterway and Lake Woodlands with friends and family.
The community’s unique recreational features and resident engagement are additional reasons The Woodlands remains an ideal place to live, works, build a business, or raise a family.
A Spotlight on Supporters
As numerous independent surveys and rankings consistently show, The Woodlands is the best place in Texas – and the United States – to live, work, pray, raise a family, and build a business. Of course, all of us who are blessed enough to call The Woodlands home know this first hand.
Indeed, since its founding, The Woodlands has been home to a one-of-a-kind parks system, a vibrant arts culture, top-notch schools, and an innovative and thriving economic climate.
But what truly makes The Woodlands special are the people who live here and the families who call it home – people and families who have dedicated time and resources to support our collective efforts at Preserve The Woodlands.
These are people who believe in a strong community and sound values, and they demonstrate those beliefs every single day. The Woodlands is a unique community that attracts people who want to live where there is a premium placed on being a good neighbor, a loyal partner, and a dedicated friend.
Preserve The Woodlands is a grassroots, homegrown effort aimed at preserving what makes our community special. We are grateful to work alongside people who exemplify what makes The Woodlands what it is today – and we are putting a spotlight on a few of the many families and friends who make their homes here in our community and are dedicated to keeping it the exceptional place it is.
VOTE ON SATURDAY, MAY 7 for MUD Directors!
Municipal Utility Districts, or MUDs, are political subdivisions that provide services such as infrastructure, water, sewer, and storm water drainage for unincorporated areas. They are overseen by publicly elected boards of directors, who are expected to ensure services are provided reliably, efficiently and cost-effectively, keeping taxes low.
To better inform voters, Preserve The Woodlands provided surveys to every MUD candidate who provided email addresses with their ballot applications. Below are the unedited responses submitted by the candidates who returned our questionnaire, all of whom opposed incorporation and MUD consolidation.
Those candidates are:
Neil Gaynor, MUD 6
Alan Fritsche, MUD 67
Jennifer Robinson, MUD 7
Aaron Hoffstadter, MUD 6
Marjorie Podzielinski, MUD 46
Cristal Shie, MUD 7
Julie Davids, MUD 39
Robert “Bob” Leilich, MUD 1
Bob Lux, MUD 60
Richard Stromatt, MUD 60
Paul Martin, MUD 67
Roland Johnson, MUD 67
Preserve The Woodlands is committed to keeping voters informed. Together we can ensure The Woodlands remains the best place in Texas to live, work, raise a family, and build a business.
*Some responses did not include a candidate name for attribution and those entries are not included.
Preserve The Woodlands
Survey Results: 86% of The Woodlands Residents Oppose Putting Incorporation Back on the Ballot
Only 16% Believe Board of Directors Listens to Residents
Preserve The Woodlands today released the results of a community survey that reveal residents of The Woodlands overwhelmingly object to putting incorporation back on the ballot, and clearly express a desire for The Woodlands Township Board of Directors to turn its focus to addressing community priorities.
Danny Signorelli of Preserve The Woodlands said: “If the overwhelming defeat of incorporation at the ballot box last fall wasn’t a clear enough signal, the results of this survey should be a wake-up call for our Board of Directors. Residents are ready to move past incorporation and for the Board to focus on the legitimate needs and priorities of our community.”
The survey, which was conducted via email to residents over two weeks in February 2022, received more than 500 responses from residents and generated the following results:
· By a 69-31 margin, voters rejected the incorporation of The Woodlands in Nov 2021. Do you believe the Township Board of Directors should place incorporating The Woodlands on the ballot again in Nov 2022?
o 86.1%: No – Incorporation should not be on the ballot again in 2022
o 13.9%: Yes – Incorporation should be on the ballot again in 2022
· Are you satisfied that The Woodlands Board of Directors listens to residents and is responsive to community priorities?
o 44%: No
o 40.4%: Unsure
o 15.6%: Yes
· Which of the following issues do you believe should be the Board’s three highest priorities?
o 65.1%: Lowering property taxes
o 52.8%: Returning $21 million in incorporation reserve funds to taxpayers
o 45.6%: Improving public safety
o 40.5%: Balancing the budget
o 37.5%: Increasing homestead exemption
o 11.7%: Continuing studying incorporation
o 13.5%: Other
· Which community initiatives would you like to see the Board of Directors address first?
o 52.7%: Supporting the redevelopment of aging village centers
o 22.9%: Repairing The Woodlands fire station.
o 9.4%: Creating a school crossing at Creekside Park
o 6.4%: Building a Performing Arts Center
o 8.62%: Other
Signorelli went on to say, “Just as Preserve The Woodlands stood against Incorporation and higher taxes, we are committed to ensuring community priorities, not personal political agendas, are the focus of our local elected officials. We are growing participation in Preserve The Woodlands to provide an even louder, united, and resident-centered voice for local government and leadership. This is what it takes to keep The Woodlands as the best place in the country to work, live, and raise a family.”
WE DID IT! TOGETHER WE PRESERVED THE WOODLANDS
Today is a monumental day for The Woodlands and the future of our community as voters have decisively rejected incorporation. The outcome of this election sends a clear and indisputable message that the people of The Woodlands do not want to turn our resident-run community into a city. We call on the Township Board to accept that incorporation is not the will of the voters, and not in the best interest of this community. It’s time to put this ill-conceived, expensive, and risky idea behind us.
A vote against incorporation was about our love of The Woodlands and our way of life. We celebrate this victory alongside every resident and business owner who joined us in working diligently over the last three months to raise awareness and educate our neighbors about the dangers of incorporation and who cast a vote against bigger government and higher taxes.
As a grassroots organization, formed by hundreds of supporters, volunteers, and advisory board members to defend and uphold the principles that have made The Woodlands great, Preserve The Woodlands will continue to fight for limited government, low taxes, and personal freedoms.
Commissioner James Noack: Join Me in Protecting Our Hometown, Vote Against Incorporation
James Noack, Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner and longtime resident of The Woodlands, shares the reasons voters should soundly reject incorporation efforts this election.
“This election isn’t about personalities, it’s not about pitting developers against residents, and it’s certainly not about road projects that don’t exist; this is about protecting our community,” Noack says. “This election is about our hometown … Where we raise our children, where they attend school, where we build our businesses, and where we meet together to pray.
“The Township’s rushed push to incorporate is expensive and it’s risky. I love our community and the limited, local government that we have that is resident-run. Let’s not change that.”
Noack said incorporation is a significant risk to the quality of life in The Woodlands, for no clear benefit.
“We have low taxes, an unbelievably safe community, and very limited government,” he says. “Why would we do anything to change that now? What are we trying to fix that isn’t broken?”
You can view the video HERE.
Congressman Kevin Brady is Against Incorporating The Woodlands
U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady, who has served The Woodlands community for 36 years, publicly announced his opposition to incorporating The Woodlands as a city and is asking residents to join him in voting AGAINST Props A&B.
“As we weigh the best form of governance for the future, I’m convinced incorporation doesn’t make sense for The Woodlands. How does bigger government, higher costs and double-taxing ourselves for roads and law enforcement make us a better community than we already are?
“Abandoning our award-winning Township for a typical incorporated city with higher costs and bigger bureaucracy risks our future. Bigger isn’t better.
“Supporters insist The Woodlands can’t survive without becoming more dependent on federal handouts from Washington – which is a puzzling claim given our ample resources and proven ability to plan for the future. But from experience I worry the opposite is more likely – we won’t likely remain the community we are if we invite more control from Washington.
“It’s a cruel truth that Washington dollars come with Washington rules. Federal funding often includes rigid mandates that dictate how an incorporated city should look and act. These one-size-fits-all mandates can supersede local control, tying the hands of local officials. It’s the biggest complaint I hear from city leaders in my congressional district.
“For example, right now suburban communities across America are battling an alarming push from Congress to force incorporated cities to abandon local zoning laws that encourage single-family homes. In this ‘war on suburbs’, Washington D.C. planners are demanding dense urban living with fewer homes and yards, replacing them with more apartments and multi-family housing.” Read his full letter HERE.
Early Voting Ends THIS Friday
Your vote is your voice. Preserve The Woodlands, vote AGAINST propositions A&B.
Neighbors Asking You to Vote AGAINST Incorporation
Neighbors are asking neighbors to vote against incorporation. Resident Linda Anthony shared her plea to save The Woodlands today in Woodlands Online. Below are excerpts of her letter to neighbors. You can read her full letter CLICK HERE.
“Please Do Not be complacent. Our Hometown is being challenged. Please get out and Vote NO to Incorporation. Preserve the Woodlands and our #1 Rated community.
“The Woodlands is the envy of every city in the country. Even with ‘free money’ and ‘control,’ which are the false ideals touted by incorporation proponents, these cities and other communities cannot come close to matching the unequaled hometown feel, quality of life, and operational efficiency of our town. In The Woodlands, ‘results’ is the only meaningful word on which to focus.
“The residents are happy, and our community is unique. So why change? Why would anybody want to pay higher taxes to chase mediocrity? There is a dark feel to the lack of transparency, false assumptions, one-sided narrative, and brazenly political tactics being used to advance this harmful push to incorporate as a city. We need to be alarmed and we need to understand that our very community is being challenged.
“The Woodlands can never return to the Township governance if it incorporates. The results of November 2 will be permanent.
“Please do not be complacent. We need your help. Please get out and VOTE AGAINST INCORPORATION to keep our hometown as the unique #1 place to live in the nation!”
Woodlands Township Use of Taxpayer Dollars on Political Campaign Deserves Full Investigation
Alarming report raises legal, ethical questions about officials’ actions
Contracts and expenditures have surfaced revealing that The Woodlands Township hired a political consulting firm to identify, track and target voters ahead of this November’s incorporation vote.
Montgomery County newspaper The Golden Hammer first published the contracts and invoices on its website, which show the Township has spent at least $80,000 in taxpayer funds on a pro-incorporation political campaign.
Texas law expressly prohibits public funds from being spent for political purposes.
“This stunning revelation represents a betrayal of the public’s trust and a disturbing abuse of power, ” said Richard Franks, local resident and Preserve The Woodlands Advisory Board Member. “This is beyond the pale and should be immediately and thoroughly investigated.”
According to the newly revealed documents, the Township hired Cooksey Communications, a Dallas-based political firm, to provide campaign strategy and voter identification to assist in the pro-incorporation campaign. $35,000.00 of the taxpayer-funded effort was earmarked for providing voter list development, designing a campaign theme along with three direct mail pieces, banners, signage, powerpoint presentations, a one-page informational handout for meetings, advertisements, and “monitoring social media platforms day-to-day and provide pre-approved responses.”
According to one board member, this contract did not go before the full board for approval, unlike contracts of similar expense.
Earlier this month, Preserve The Woodlands alerted residents to mounting ethical questions about The Township’s record of spending and lack of transparency.
In response to a Preserve The Woodlands’ public information request the Township responded that it had spent only $375 on 5 posters.
“The Township Board is spending taxpayer funds on a campaign promoting propositions A&B,” said Jason Halstead, local resident and business professional and Preserve The Woodlands Advisory Board Member. “It’s scary that this is happening without any accountability to the taxpayers. It’s clear they were concealing the true nature of their spending of public dollars and now we know why.”