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The Woodlands May Be Headed For Self-Government


lockmat

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There goes George Mitchell's dream. He never intended for the Woodlands to become just another place that ended up hurting the city by draining the tax base.

Read the article closely. I'd think that a person of your political ideology would appreciate the political implications of White's move. After all, what good is a tax base if the voting citizens are too fiscally conservative to allow themselves to be taxed?

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Read the article closely. I'd think that a person of your political ideology would appreciate the political implications of White's move. After all, what good is a tax base if the voting citizens are too fiscally conservative to allow themselves to be taxed?

I'd hardly call owning million dollar homes an example of being "fiscally conservative". Houston should annex this area with deliberate speed. As it stand I'm not sure how Houston will benefit from this proposed arrangement.

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Honestly any form of government up here would be helpful. It would be refreshing for residents to VOTE for who runs the place. Currently our choices are made for us by people who were hired by the Development Corp. It would be nice to see the overlord of the association broken down into Village HOAs that would look over their own particular area's interests and contracts. Its amazing that BFI could pick up trash twice a week for nearly the same cost as the Waste Management group, but the association insists on Waste Management.

I really don't understand why everyone is so afraid of Big Bad Houston. As long as your association and patrol is solid, there really isn't a problem. However this is something that still needs working out here. In fact with the exception of the school district,I would say overall the services provided by the COH were better than what this Association, police and local Mud currently provide.

We will just have to see how everything pans out, but I can't see tax bills going any higher and keep its current population. What happened to Kingwood's taxes overall?

JMO

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This is a Godsend for The Woodlands, long term IMO

I'd hardly call owning million dollar homes an example of being "fiscally conservative". Houston should annex this area with deliberate speed. As it stand I'm not sure how Houston will benefit from this proposed arrangement.

Maybe some people CAN afford million-dollar homes b/c throughout their lifetimes they WERE fiscally conservative and properly managed their money - as opposed to spendthrifts that can't afford a pot to pi$$ in. What a concept...

Edited by jasons
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I'd hardly call owning million dollar homes an example of being "fiscally conservative". Houston should annex this area with deliberate speed. As it stand I'm not sure how Houston will benefit from this proposed arrangement.

I understand The Woodland's point of view with this deal. I could understand why they'd wanna pull off a Kingwood and start whining about not wanting to become part of the big city. But I don't understand Houston's part of the deal. I would imagine Woodlands being the first place Houston would want to annex if given a choice. The land value is high, the population is huge for a Houston-area suburb (85,000), and the tax revenue to go with the higher-income residents would have been WAY higher than the amount recieved from this deal.

Knowing all that, what are the odds now that more higher-income Houstonians could jump ship to Woodlands. Where's the benefit on Houston's side? Not saying we should force Woodlands to become a part of Houston, but I don't understand what Mayor White's trying to accomplish there. Why Kingwood and not Woodlands?

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I think the reason is b/c The Woodlands is prepared to fight and they have deep pockets. The problem with Kingwood is they waited until it was too late to fight; they didn't learn the lesson from Clear Lake and got sideswiped. After Kingwood, The Woodlands said "not again, not here", and Houston knows it. All else being equal, the key advantage The Woodlands has is time.

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Actually, the problem lies in the fact that people continue to BUY THEIR HOMES in areas that are very clearly annexable (is that a word?). Then, they go all up in arms about needing self government and the big bad city of Houston. Well, they had a FREE CHOICE and they made it when they purchased in unincorporated areas that were within Houston's boundaries for annexation.

If these people were truly fiscally conservative, then they would have purchased in places that COULD NOT be annexed by Houston.

To make matters worse, the original developer of The Woodlands ALWAYS intended for the City of Houston to eventually take over.

Compromise or not, this will eventually HURT the city in the long run just as Plano, Richardson, Irving (Las Colinas) hurt the city of Dallas. This is especially true as more and more businesses (Anadarko, Chevron-Texaco, the Mall, etc...) are established out there that not only service folks in the Woodlands but pull in people who used to shop, dine, and work in the city.

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Actually, the problem lies in the fact that people continue to BUY THEIR HOMES in areas that are very clearly annexable (is that a word?). Then, they go all up in arms about needing self government and the big bad city of Houston. Well, they had a FREE CHOICE and they made it when they purchased in unincorporated areas that were within Houston's boundaries for annexation.

If these people were truly fiscally conservative, then they would have purchased in places that COULD NOT be annexed by Houston.

To make matters worse, the original developer of The Woodlands ALWAYS intended for the City of Houston to eventually take over.

Compromise or not, this will eventually HURT the city in the long run just as Plano, Richardson, Irving (Las Colinas) hurt the city of Dallas. This is especially true as more and more businesses (Anadarko, Chevron-Texaco, the Mall, etc...) are established out there that not only service folks in the Woodlands but pull in people who used to shop, dine, and work in the city.

In addition, all these "fiscally conservative" yet politically naive buyers should have known what the deal was: the agreement that Houston controls the destiny of any kind of governance. They would be wise to take the deal-or we could just begin by annexing their business tax base and come back for the residential when the political climate is more favorable for Houston as a whole. We already have enough politically naive already.

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Can anyone tell me the pros and cons for annexing from the city of Houston view and in this case, The Woodlands' view?

It just seems to me that annexing would be better for both parties than the alternative taking place. But that's my naive opinion.

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Can anyone tell me the pros and cons for annexing from the city of Houston view and in this case, The Woodlands' view?

It just seems to me that annexing would be better for both parties than the alternative taking place. But that's my naive opinion.

As a Houstonian, annexing Woodlands would be nothing but a major pro. It's an upper-class population of 85,000 added to our tax base, not to mention their business boom. It'd mean much-needed revenue coming to a city that just passed eight bonds this past November, still paying off it's stadiums (including the Astrodome), and would love to take some of the future tax burdens off taxpayers already in Houston. If Houston had it's way, more new residents within Houston would be upper-middle class at least.

In the point of view of someone in the Woodlands, they would have major pros, and major cons. Pros: They would recieve all the amenities Houstonians recieve with public transportation, public servicies, etc. Cons: They would have to pay the same amount of taxes as other Houstonians. Plus, they wouldn't have power and control over themselves anymore; they'd have downtown Houston for it's City Hall. That would mean less funds going directly to them and going to the big city as a whole, while at the same time paying more taxes.

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If these people were truly fiscally conservative, then they would have purchased in places that COULD NOT be annexed by Houston.

Like Lufkin?

Some of the people on this board really have a problem with people who live in these areas, don't they?

Is it because you see these people enjying the city of Houston and it's ammenities? Or is it because they are clogging up the freeways by commuting in to town? Or is it because they are contributing to what you percieve as sprawl or creating ring-rot. Do you despise the "white flight" social implications of it? Is it because it is affeting your neighborhood? Is it all of these, or just some for different folks? I am just trying to understand the psychology of it.

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As a Houstonian, annexing Woodlands would be nothing but a major pro. It's an upper-class population of 85,000 added to our tax base, not to mention their business boom. It'd mean much-needed revenue coming to a city that just passed eight bonds this past November, still paying off it's stadiums (including the Astrodome), and would love to take some of the future tax burdens off taxpayers already in Houston. If Houston had it's way, more new residents within Houston would be upper-middle class at least.

In the point of view of someone in the Woodlands, they would have major pros, and major cons. Pros: They would recieve all the amenities Houstonians recieve with public transportation, public servicies, etc. Cons: They would have to pay the same amount of taxes as other Houstonians. Plus, they wouldn't have power and control over themselves anymore; they'd have downtown Houston for it's City Hall. That would mean less funds going directly to them and going to the big city as a whole, while at the same time paying more taxes.

How much more are the taxes? A lot? And which ones? Sales, property???

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I'd hardly call owning million dollar homes an example of being "fiscally conservative". Houston should annex this area with deliberate speed. As it stand I'm not sure how Houston will benefit from this proposed arrangement.

News flash: People don't work for money so that they can save it. They work for money so that they can maximize and optimize their consumption patterns over time; saving/investing it is only a tool to further maximize/optimize consumption patterns.

The mantra of most fiscal conservatives is that the private sector does a better job at producing goods and services and allocating wealth than does a bureaucracy.

By the way, the vast majority of homes in The Woodlands are worth far less than a million dollars. And those that do own homes, especially those of high value, are the most likely to not want high tax rates. Taxes would affect them the most directly, and they aren't going to be happy about it. That should be pretty obvious.

If these people were truly fiscally conservative, then they would have purchased in places that COULD NOT be annexed by Houston.

See prior post.

Compromise or not, this will eventually HURT the city in the long run just as Plano, Richardson, Irving (Las Colinas) hurt the city of Dallas. This is especially true as more and more businesses (Anadarko, Chevron-Texaco, the Mall, etc...) are established out there that not only service folks in the Woodlands but pull in people who used to shop, dine, and work in the city.

I do agree with you here.

As a Houstonian, annexing Woodlands would be nothing but a major pro. It's an upper-class population of 85,000 added to our tax base, not to mention their business boom. It'd mean much-needed revenue coming to a city that just passed eight bonds this past November, still paying off it's stadiums (including the Astrodome), and would love to take some of the future tax burdens off taxpayers already in Houston.

Well, that's not entirely accurate. The stadiums are mostly the burden of Harris County; The Woodlands isn't in Harris County.

If Houston had it's way, more new residents within Houston would be upper-middle class at least.

Try telling that to Ada Edwards.

How much more are the taxes? A lot? And which ones? Sales, property???

The difference in property taxes is hard to peg down because the City of Houston would have to buy out each of many different Woodlands MUDs, all with different tax rates. There would also be a one-cent sales tax to fund METRO services.

I don't think that the property taxes within The Woodlands would increase by any drastic amount. In fact, for several of the newer Woodlands MUDS, the City of Houston may have to take a financial loss for several years before the annexation became profitable.

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This is a Godsend for The Woodlands, long term IMO

Maybe some people CAN afford million-dollar homes b/c throughout their lifetimes they WERE fiscally conservative and properly managed their money - as opposed to spendthrifts that can't afford a pot to pi$$ in. What a concept...

Fiscal conservatism and money management are two different things. Like I said... it's not being fiscally conservative. Excessive? Perhaps. Unecessary? Perhaps.

Compromise or not, this will eventually HURT the city in the long run just as Plano, Richardson, Irving (Las Colinas) hurt the city of Dallas. This is especially true as more and more businesses (Anadarko, Chevron-Texaco, the Mall, etc...) are established out there that not only service folks in the Woodlands but pull in people who used to shop, dine, and work in the city.

Bingo. This is why we must NEVER let them get away. Never. If we cannot stop them it will set a dangerous precedent. This cannot be allowed to pass.

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Fiscal conservatism and money management are two different things. Like I said... it's not being fiscally conservative. Excessive? Perhaps. Unecessary? Perhaps.

Bingo. This is why we must NEVER let them get away. Never. If we cannot stop them it will set a dangerous precedent. This cannot be allowed to pass.

You know, I agree with you that this needs to be a long-term consideration...on the other hand, there's no game in town like legally-sanctioned civic extortion. It is a tried and true tactic. The City of La Porte does something similar. They don't want to have to deal with all the issues that come with having refineries and chemical plants within their city limits, so they only threaten to annex the plants within their ETJ unless the plants pay up a hefty chunk of money each year that goes straight to La Porte without any expectation that services will be returned.

There's even a word for it, but I can't remember what it is. HAIF Jeopardy: Back in the middle ages, stronger city-states and empires would demand this from their weaker neighbors as compensation for not conquering them.

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You know, I agree with you that this needs to be a long-term consideration...on the other hand, there's no game in town like legally-sanctioned civic extortion. It is a tried and true tactic. The City of La Porte does something similar. They don't want to have to deal with all the issues that come with having refineries and chemical plants within their city limits, so they only threaten to annex the plants within their ETJ unless the plants pay up a hefty chunk of money each year that goes straight to La Porte without any expectation that services will be returned.

There's even a word for it, but I can't remember what it is. HAIF Jeopardy: Back in the middle ages, stronger city-states and empires would demand this from their weaker neighbors as compensation for not conquering them.

extortion.

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Re: Plano/Frisco/Allen, etc.:

As a former resident of Plano & Frisco, and now TW, I can tell you this is correct. Those cities had the foresight to box Dallas in. It's not good for Dallas - but for the people who live in the 'burbs, it's a GREAT thing. Why are Plano, Frisco, Allen, etc. such great places to live, with virtually zero violent crime? Why have they been the fastest-growing cities in the entire USA? Because they are NOT Dallas. Dallas has had to learn to deal with its own problems without the help of the "rich suburbs". Houston needs to learn the same instead of raiding every wealthy ETD around it like Robin Hood. And yes, that's exactly what annexation is - a land/money grab under a false veil of "better services." Ask the people in Kingwood where all their state-of-the-art fire equipment went.

IMO this is a good thing for TW. I don't like the payout involved but at least a good chunck gets earmarked for the Hardy. For those of us in TW at least it stops the bleeding before it gets out of control.

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Re: Plano/Frisco/Allen, etc.:

As a former resident of Plano & Frisco, and now TW, I can tell you this is correct. Those cities had the foresight to box Dallas in. It's not good for Dallas - but for the people who live in the 'burbs, it's a GREAT thing.

Why hasn't Frisco lobbied to have their soccer team named after...Frisco? Imagine the PR value! After all, they are no different than the Arlington Rangers and Irving-soon to be Arlington-Cowboys. I'd grab the glory of being the home base of these teams instead of abdicating it to a place they don't exist: Dallas. :wacko:

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The biggest problem I see with a city being boxed in, is that when "flight" occurs to the subburbs, tax revenues go down considerably and then you have what happend to NYC and other Northeastern cities back in the 70's and 80's.

Without additional ways to get revenue, the city and property taxes would be absolutely insane. That's why it's so expensive to live in NYC, Boston, etc.

The benifit of those from the subburbs would be that they can come into town during the week and weekends to use our infrastructure with only having those within the city limits to pay for it all.

Basically it's like going to a friends house to snarf their food and use the TV on weeknights and not contributing at least a pizza or two when you visit.

It creates an additional burden to those living in the city.

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for every bread winner who works in the greater houston area (less than 5% of houston's workforce works in downtown houston btw) 2 or 3 family members are staying home, going to school, going to the doctor, attending church functions, etc. in the suburb in which they live. the majority of people who live in the suburbs are "living" in the suburbs. out of the 85,000 people living in the woodlands proper, the majority are not using houston's infrastructure on a regular basis. even if half of the bread winners in the woodlands commute to some location in the city of houston, the remaining members of their family have daily activities within a short distance.

it is a gross generalization to assume that the entire population of the woodlands is a constant drain on city resources.

in addition, the decay of nyc in the 70's is not going to happen in houston. houston's city core and its tax base are growing.

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for every bread winner who works in the greater houston area (less than 5% of houston's workforce works in downtown houston btw) 2 or 3 family members are staying home, going to school, going to the doctor, attending church functions, etc. in the suburb in which they live. the majority of people who live in the suburbs are "living" in the suburbs. out of the 85,000 people living in the woodlands proper, the majority are not using houston's infrastructure on a regular basis. even if half of the bread winners in the woodlands commute to some location in the city of houston, the remaining members of their family have daily activities within a short distance.

it is a gross generalization to assume that the entire population of the woodlands is a constant drain on city resources.

in addition, the decay of nyc in the 70's is not going to happen in houston. houston's city core and its tax base are growing.

you know, you're right.

I forgot one of the things I say/complain about human nature; People rarely wander far from the nest.

There are people that won't go beyond their paritulcar area if they don't have to.

The same is true for those in the 'burbs, the Montrose, Midtown, Rice U, Bellaire, or any of the other communities people live in.

while the majority may stay in the 'burbs, there is still quite a few people that come to/from the 'burbs that use the infrastrature, but they do contribute to the city economy when they do. (i.e. attend games/shopping/resturants) whether this is enough to help maintain a tax base worthy of city improvements/infrastruture remains to be seen.

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"The Woodlands would be nothing but a deer lease if it weren't for the city of Houston," he said. :lol: "Residents of The Woodlands enjoy the golden goose of Houston. They get the benefits of working here during the day and then going back to their comfortable, homogenous, bedroom communities at night."

http://www.offthekuff.com/mt/

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I think annexation laws exist for a reason - so wealthy white communities don't leech off the core city without contributing taxes. The alternative is you turn into Detroit. The fact is a lot of us grew up here and love the city and choose not to flee. There's plenty of empty land in west Texas if you don't like the idea of being annexed.

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Clearly, the people who think that the City of Houston would cause taxes to go up are naive or not homeownwers. The Woodlands residents pay some of the highest property taxes around. If annexed by Houston, their taxes would drop. However, I disagree that annexing the Woodlands would be good for Houston. The priorities are much different for those residents. Let them buy their way out of the ETJ, and tax themselves into oblivion. I can't wait for them to figure out what a 200 man police force costs.

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You're acting as if the only reason people head to the city is to work or that the only place they work is in downtown.

What if you want to visit the best doctors in town or you need life flight? You head to HOUSTON.

What if you need upscale shopping? You head to HOUSTON's Galleria.

Wanna catch the World Series game? You head to HOUSTON.

Have an interest in the Texans, Rockets, Comets, Aeros, or Dynamos? Better head to HOUSTON.

You prefer college sports? All of TSU, UH, Rice, and HBU are within the city limits of HOUSTON.

There's an exhibit at the MFA? Gotta hit HOUSTON.

Wanna catch the art car parade, thanksgiving day parade, rodeo parade, or 4th of July fireworks show? Those are in HOUSTON.

Need to book a huge convention center? Most likely, you'll be in HOUSTON.

Need to fly out of town? Both Hobby and IAH are in the city of HOUSTON.

Wife want to see a TUTS production or the opera/symphony/ballet/alley/etc...? You'll be in downtown HOUSTON.

You need to impress an out of town client with the area's finest dining? Again, you'll travel to HOUSTON.

Your relatives come in from out of town and they've heard of the Menil? Say hello to HOUSTON.

Trapped in the closet all week and need a gay bar? HOUSTON has Montrose.

Want to run the Marathon? Those are on HOUSTON city streets (and a bit of West U).

Need to go to law school? South Texas, UH, and TSU are all in the city of HOUSTON.

Here comes the Rodeo and the kids are psyched because of go Texan Day? That's in HOUSTON too.

The list goes on and on and on.

Suburbs would not exist without the cities they surround. Every time someone comes to town and drives on the street or flushes a toilet or uses electricity, they tax the city's infrastructure. Sales taxes do collect some of these costs back, but the city loses out when middle and upper class folks move away and that leaves a heavy burden on the people left behind.

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Clearly, the people who think that the City of Houston would cause taxes to go up are naive or not homeownwers. The Woodlands residents pay some of the highest property taxes around. If annexed by Houston, their taxes would drop. However, I disagree that annexing the Woodlands would be good for Houston. The priorities are much different for those residents. Let them buy their way out of the ETJ, and tax themselves into oblivion. I can't wait for them to figure out what a 200 man police force costs.

What is ETJ?

Am I the only who gets lost when people start using acronymns?

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What is ETJ?

Am I the only who gets lost when people start using acronymns?

an ETJ is an extraterritorial jurisdiction.

i'll say it again..........38% of woodlands' residents work in the woodlands. there are huge numbers of woodlands' residents who are transferred here by their companies because the company headquarters have relocated here. rep. john whitmire doesn't have the facts. calling the woodlands a bedroom community shows that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

the woodlands admits that it benefits from houston and is offering a greater contribution to the region.

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One thing is certain; do not give any incorporated Woodlands an ETJ. It must not have the power to annex!

I'm not sure that they'd use that power, even if they had it. It'd dilute the sense of exclusivity and speciality that many Woodlanders (and especially their realtors) seem to carry. In fact, I'd wonder whether or not they'll even want to incorporate all of themselves. There may be a very solid economic argument that their westernmost fringes wouldn't be worth annexation because the debt service paid on the MUD bonds is still so high relative to the value of the districts.

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You're acting as if the only reason people head to the city is to work or that the only place they work is in downtown.

...head to HOUSTON.

Suburbs would not exist without the cities they surround. Every time someone comes to town and drives on the street or flushes a toilet or uses electricity, they tax the city's infrastructure. Sales taxes do collect some of these costs back, but the city loses out when middle and upper class folks move away and that leaves a heavy burden on the people left behind.

The central city and the suburbs aren't so much in competition as they are codependent. Without the suburbs contributing to the regional population base, the market for all those things that you just mentioned wouldn't exist or would be less valuable and therefore be taxed at a lower rate. And most of the things you mentioned add to the City's tax base rather than detract from it. The Galleria, for instance, is the best example. Similarly, without the labor pool within the suburbs, why would corporations in expensive highrise office buildings want to locate in the Houston area? And you know the great thing about commercial tenants within the City is that they pay lots and lots of tax dollars but demand relatively fewer and less costly services than do residents.

To try and figure out all the long-term economic implications from annexation and incorporation of cities in a polycentric region can be incredibly difficult.

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There's even a word for it, but I can't remember what it is. HAIF Jeopardy: Back in the middle ages, stronger city-states and empires would demand this from their weaker neighbors as compensation for not conquering them.

I play Age of Empires every now and then. It's called Tribute.

Re: Plano/Frisco/Allen, etc.:

As a former resident of Plano & Frisco, and now TW, I can tell you this is correct. Those cities had the foresight to box Dallas in. It's not good for Dallas - but for the people who live in the 'burbs, it's a GREAT thing. Why are Plano, Frisco, Allen, etc. such great places to live, with virtually zero violent crime? Why have they been the fastest-growing cities in the entire USA? Because they are NOT Dallas. Dallas has had to learn to deal with its own problems without the help of the "rich suburbs". Houston needs to learn the same instead of raiding every wealthy ETD around it like Robin Hood. And yes, that's exactly what annexation is - a land/money grab under a false veil of "better services." Ask the people in Kingwood where all their state-of-the-art fire equipment went.

IMO this is a good thing for TW. I don't like the payout involved but at least a good chunck gets earmarked for the Hardy. For those of us in TW at least it stops the bleeding before it gets out of control.

This is why Houston must not let woodlands govern themselves. Houston must not become like Dallas.

for every bread winner who works in the greater houston area (less than 5% of houston's workforce works in downtown houston btw) 2 or 3 family members are staying home, going to school, going to the doctor, attending church functions, etc. in the suburb in which they live. the majority of people who live in the suburbs are "living" in the suburbs. out of the 85,000 people living in the woodlands proper, the majority are not using houston's infrastructure on a regular basis. even if half of the bread winners in the woodlands commute to some location in the city of houston, the remaining members of their family have daily activities within a short distance.

Without Houston, these bedroom communities such as teh woodlands would cease to exist or would suffer.

"The Woodlands would be nothing but a deer lease if it weren't for the city of Houston," he said. :lol: "Residents of The Woodlands enjoy the golden goose of Houston. They get the benefits of working here during the day and then going back to their comfortable, homogenous, bedroom communities at night."

http://www.offthekuff.com/mt/

He is right on the money! ;)

an ETJ is an extraterritorial jurisdiction.

i'll say it again..........38% of woodlands' residents work in the woodlands. there are huge numbers of woodlands' residents who are transferred here by their companies because the company headquarters have relocated here. rep. john whitmire doesn't have the facts. calling the woodlands a bedroom community shows that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

the woodlands admits that it benefits from houston and is offering a greater contribution to the region.

I like this way of thinking. We just want to have teh wuudlands join the team. That's all.

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Cities and suburbs are not codependent. Houston would totally survive without her suburbs. In fact, she would thrive even more if all the people that "escaped" to the burbs were still contributing to the common good of the city.

Now, take away Houston, and there simply is no First Colony or The Woodlands or Summerwood.

To imply that our region wouldn't have the population figures or commerce that it currently has without the existence of the burbs is also a fallacy. The great majority of the jobs and people would still be here BECAUSE OF THE CITY OF HOUSTON. It's not a complicated concept to grasp.

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Why hasn't Frisco lobbied to have their soccer team named after...Frisco? Imagine the PR value! After all, they are no different than the Arlington Rangers and Irving-soon to be Arlington-Cowboys. I'd grab the glory of being the home base of these teams instead of abdicating it to a place they don't exist: Dallas.

Exactly. They love to make jabs at the more wealthy residents in Dallas proper. Truth is they are just looking for a conservative haven where they don't have to pay for actual services. You could still be part of the major city and have your own school district if you please. You just want different property tax, don't want to pay for public transit and want someone else to link larger projects for you. Then you use that extra tax space to lure companies away from the city with ridiculous tax incentives that will kill your city in 20 years. Houston, please don't make Dallas' mistake. Annex all the land that you can. Who cares what the SSC and SSP crowd say, its is the regionally responsible thing to do. I wish Dallas could annex all of Dallas County. It could stop this ridiculous DART pandering and tax incentive war we're having up here. DART can't even build the way it should because you have 50 suburban municipalities pulling at them with a me first mentality. You can't even get a company to locate in Dallas proper because you have every suburban business center trying to become the next 1,000,000 person city with big business throwing tax incentives at them(interesting because people supposedly move to a Frisco to get away, yet they are trying to build large urban areas) in the name of being in "Dallas". I'm totally pro annexation.

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Point of view from a Woodlands Resident:

1. The Woodlands is not a culture of rish people as some have stated and believe. There is subsidized housing, apartments, small homes, as well as a few million dollar homes. The Woodlands is in fact a planned community., not a white flight suburb.

2. I live in The Woodlands because it is a nice place to live. The planning is not hodge podge as is Houston.

3. Proximity to Houston? Nice but not a requirement. We spend money in Houston at concerts and other cultural events, in the malls and many other places. Again, not a necessity and not part of the reaosn we live here. I do not work in Houston. I work here.

4. Culture amenties are coming here. Maybe we will be independent in that aspect as well. Of course, Houston residents will be welcome also, but the idea is not to draw away from those of the big city, but to make some alternatives available to far northern residents. Gasoline costs are great these days. We like to be able to have our own close by. Montgomery residents north of The Woodlands are likely to be coming to events, similarly as The Woodlands Pavillion.

5. Water is a major concern in the outlying areas of Houston. Houston seems to manage water very well. Again, we perceive the need to develop self-reliance on a water system. That is needed for the norther areas, especially in Montgomery county. Part of our planning is to develop a source of water for the future. This signed agreement may not be sufficient for us, but it is a starting point.

6. The agrement for the ETJ was an insurance policy for continued development without annexation threats AND to preserve a general area strategy needed to manage flight to the suburbs. Since that has reversed and urban renewal has caused a large shift in the decay of the intter city, the need to thwart flight by annexation has gone away. Now the emphasis is to self govern and thereby self determination.

7. The tax base is at risk for any annexation plan. The Woodlands Town Center is already a tax district and offers less than other areas for tax benefits through city annexation. We are going to tax ourselves anyway to provide for police and other services uniquely required for our area. The number of policing units, the coverage and many other aspects of community services have evolved over the years into an exceptional model for other communities.

8. We see ourselves as inhabitants of the forest. We have a strong interest and are key stakeholders in some of the projects we will help fund, such as the creek park project. There is much work to do to improve upon what we have.

There are many reasons including the above, driving us toward self governance. It will cost but we believe in the end, our commnity will remain one of the most outstanding places to live in an urban area. The Woodlands will only get better if we are able to manage it sourselves. We do not want to risk putting it in the hands of those have other agendas. The mayor has told us that the city looks forward to seeing us govern ourselves. That way, the city can concentrate on their own very different issues. Politically, it would not be good for either side to see a battle and the chaos imposed on our community like that of the other communities that have failed in the past. That is especially true in todays business and political environment.

Finally, The Woodlands has chosen to manage the effort rather than be political about it. We hired a project management contultant company tostudyand lead through modern project management practices to determine the best alternatives for our future. We did not go into this with a bullish view against the city of Houston. The ideas and respnses of the citizens here were catalogued and considered as well as looking at best practices and modern views of government. We have a long way to go yet but the first steps have been taken.

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I play Age of Empires every now and then. It's called Tribute.

Bingo. That's the one. It doesn't start with a 'c', as I suspected, but that's what I was trying to think of.

Thanks. :)

Cities and suburbs are not codependent. Houston would totally survive without her suburbs. In fact, she would thrive even more if all the people that "escaped" to the burbs were still contributing to the common good of the city.

Now, take away Houston, and there simply is no First Colony or The Woodlands or Summerwood.

To imply that our region wouldn't have the population figures or commerce that it currently has without the existence of the burbs is also a fallacy. The great majority of the jobs and people would still be here BECAUSE OF THE CITY OF HOUSTON. It's not a complicated concept to grasp.

You don't seem to get what I'm trying to say. The people that live in the suburbs make possible Houston's commercial tax base (a HIGHLY lucrative source of income compared to a residential tax base). Likewise, it is job growth resulting from the agglomeration of a commercial base that keep residential demand high enough to sustain the suburbs. They feed back upon one another. Very simple concept; very complex result.

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Cities and suburbs are not codependent. Houston would totally survive without her suburbs. In fact, she would thrive even more if all the people that "escaped" to the burbs were still contributing to the common good of the city.

Now, take away Houston, and there simply is no First Colony or The Woodlands or Summerwood.

I agree with you. Without Houston, most of the surrounding communities would cease to exist.

To imply that our region wouldn't have the population figures or commerce that it currently has without the existence of the burbs is also a fallacy. The great majority of the jobs and people would still be here BECAUSE OF THE CITY OF HOUSTON. It's not a complicated concept to grasp.

I agree with you here as well. Houston will still be a major city without any suburbs. It seems you're repeating what you've already said.

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Sorry for coming into the discussion late. I see some posts from non-residents which are missing key points.

1. Here's a quote from The Villager: "Although The Woodlands, with its astronomical sales and property tax base, made an inviting target for Houston, Mayor White indicated Thursday the community was simply too big - and costly - for his city to acquire. Houston annexed Kingwood, another master-planned community, in 1996 and the jury is still out whether Houston profited from that move. 'It's not the cheapest to provide city services 30 miles away,' White said."

2. Kingwood fought annexation bitterly, and left scars on multiple levels, legal, financial and PR. The Woodlands as bigger, has more advance warning, has the inroads that Kingwood made, and could very well prevail in defeating annexation. Even if they didn't prevail, it could easily cost Houston so much money, time, and ill-will that any gains wouldn't be offset. The Woodlands residents have made it clear already that they're against it, they're ready to fight it, they have the resources, and they're starting early.

3. The Woodlands is not adjacent to Houston. There is a big chunk of area extending from The Woodlands to Greenspoint which is unincorporated Harris County. And Houston, by law, would need to annex that. And, even more interesting, Houston would also have to annex a "comparable low-income" area to offset the annexation of this high-income area. So welcome the rest of the Greater Greenspoint area to Houston. And this will be a huge drain on services. Greenspoint is currently the #1 highest crime area in Houston. Add that miles of Section 8 apartment complexes south of FM 1960 and you've just expanded one huge crime hole in the city.

4. The Woodlands is "special", whether you like it or not, in many ways. It's not just a bedroom community like Kingwood. It has become, whether you like it or not, THE entertainment and shopping center for a couple million residents on the north side of Houston. The Woodlands Mall and Market Street, for example, have been slowly killing every other mall north of the inner loop. You can read about how Mexican nationals, for example, are now hitting The Woodlands Mall in big numbers when they visit the Houston area. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion is the only major concert venue in this northern half of the Houston metro area. All this means that it's bigger and harder to run from afar, and that it has its own resources to fight.

5. The Woodlands is also "special" in that it's becoming a regional employment hub. Right now it has 40,000 jobs (I think Greenspoint has like 90,000) and The Woodlands is planning to grow to 70,000 jobs within the next decade. As Bachanon pointed out, people are commuting from various places on the north side of Houston TO jobs in The Woodlands now. And that's going to increase.

6. The Woodlands is also "special" in that it has that whole historical, unique ecological planned community thing. It's in the history books. It's recognized internationally. It's one of about 3 communities of its kind in the nation (along with Reston, Virginia and Irvine, California). It has been one of the few communities in the country to win prestigious international awards for being environmentally-friendly. All that means is that Houston can't just treat it like another suburb - it has special needs. If Houston were to be so foolish as to ignore this, it would surely risk killing that unique quality of the Woodlands. And there would go one of the feathers in the cap of the Houston metro area. The bottom line is that Houston needs The Woodlands now as much as the other way around. The Woodlands has gotten so big and so successful that it has achieved a critical mass and it can't just be treated casually any more.

7. The analogy of Dallas being boxed in - that doesn't apply here. The Woodlands is way beyond the current city limits of Houston.

8. The whole "white flight", "cookie-cutter", "bedroom community" suburb with its "millionares" who are "draining money from the urban core" like "Detroit" is just an outdated, off-base analogy on so many levels. The average housing price inside the loop is more than double what it is in The Woodlands. The suburbs have changed a lot in the last 30 years. People in The Woodlands don't visit downtown much because the suburbs themselves have changed so much. The suburbs now contain ghettos, international communites, arts attractions, employment centers, etc. The suburbs have diversified. For example, which of the following does The Woodlands area now have (this is taken from the list from KincaidAlum): A) gay bars, B) rock concerts, C) marathons, D) nightlife, E) upscale shopping, F) 4th of July festivities, or G) all of the above? The answer is G: all of the above. And we could add to that list things not mentioned like golf, boating, fishing, etc. The reality is that most residents of The Woodlands don't need cross into the city limits of Houston more than occasionally, say once or twice a month. That's nothing against the city - that's just the nature of all suburbs these days.

9. What has happened to Kingwood since Houston annexed it? As a community, it hasn't gone anywhere. Residents complain bitterly about services. The bottom line is that The Woodlands could have never become as successful as it has become if it were part of Houston. If Houston annexes The Woodlands, it could very easily kill it in an "absentee landlord" kind of way.

This "extortion" is brilliant, in my opinion. It's a win-win for everyone. Houston gets $45 million with zero work. And doesn't have to deal with the Greater Greenspoint cesspool. And doesn't have to provide services for The Woodlands which would never be good enough. And it doesn't have to fight a long, ugly, expensive legal and PR battle with The Woodlands.

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Sorry for coming into the discussion late. I see some posts from non-residents which are missing key points.

Many of your points are generally correct, but exaggerated. The Woodlands really and truely isn't that big of an employment center just yet and doesn't have that kind of regional impact. It has a big impact, don't get me wrong, but your take is exaggerated none the less.

Also, if you look at how Houston annexed Kingwood, you'll notice that the continuous strip connecting to it is only perhaps a hundred feet wide, and runs up the West Canal for many miles before hitting Lake Houston. If it were to pursue annexation, there would most likely be a similar strip of land running up Interstate 45, bypassing the crap around Greenspoint.

By the way, just so you're aware, most of the Greenspoint crap already falls within the Houston city limits.

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Can we all stop with the whole "The Woodlands wouldn't exist without Houston" argument? Please. Houston wouldn't exist without Galveston - and would be just another dot on the map if it weren't for the Hurricane of 1900.

This is true in a broad historical sense, but in a sense as pertains to distributive taxation in the present day, it is not.

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Many of your points are generally correct, but exaggerated. The Woodlands really and truely isn't that big of an employment center just yet and doesn't have that kind of regional impact. It has a big impact, don't get me wrong, but your take is exaggerated none the less.

By the way, just so you're aware, most of the Greenspoint crap already falls within the Houston city limits.

I wanted to say previously, but didn't, that I thought that your information on this annexation thread was the most accurate from all the non-residents.

And your point about The Woodlands being exaggerated as a regional employment hub is definitely fair. In 10 years, when it reaches 70,000 jobs, that may be a different story, however.

I wasn't sure what proportion of the crime-ridden, public-assisted apartment complexes south of FM 1960 in unincorporated Harris County constituted the area which I was calling greater Greenspoint. But you're exactly correct in that Houston might NOT have looked to annex any of that area. But they would have to annex some sort of low-income area to offset the high-income area.

And while my descriptions of The Woodlands being "special" could easily be argued as being exaggerated, because it is ultimately a suburb, my main point is that it would be expensive and tiring for Houston to engage in this war, and there is a real chance they wouldn't prevail. A better solution, in my opinion, is this $45 million tribute, as you call it.

Edited by SpringTX
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  • The title was changed to The Woodlands May Be Headed For Self-Government

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