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The Woodlands May Be Headed For Self-Government


lockmat

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All this seems a bunch of Hullabaloo to me. I have lived in the midst of it for 8 years and there is nothing even resembling discrimination around here. The p;opulation exhibits a high tolerance for ethnic and cultural diversity. I seem to have every kind of neighbor there is, and no one talks about each other in any such way. Of course I do not encourage it either.

For the most part, I agree. I work in Aldine and the diversity is not a problem. Teachers of all races get along just fine. Even the students get along. No "race wars" etc. Everyone pretty much tolerates and gets along with everyone else. The only real problems are gangs and last year there were issues with the New Orleans kids. But no one really makes race a big deal. It's just part of your job, your school, etc. and people are fine with it - mostly because it is not made into some big issue all the time. Everyone knows that everything Aldine has is for everyone equally. (Of course there are some service issues that I don't agree with, but they are stastically driven, not a day to day life sort of thing).

As a teenager, I went to school in The Woodlands (it was probably less diverse than it is now). There were black students and they were not outcasts or running around together. I don't really agree with the blanket statement that black people are paranoid. But, I do think people gravitate towards the familiar. And, moving to a predominantly white community is probably not the most comfortable idea, if you are not already comfortable with all people. The thing to note is the black students who I went to school with were comfortable culturally with us. They weren't gang-bangers they were educated and came from homes where education is valued (their homes shared the same values as most of the homes in the Woodlands did/do). Unfortuantly, for the proponents of forced diversity it all comes down to culture and comfort and that just takes time.

Texas A&M is practically throwing free education at minorities just to help the numbers. But, even they cannot help who matriculates and who passes TAMU up for other colleges.

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Who were the 'key' players involved with brokering this deal from The Woodlands' camp? I recall they had hired some consultants or something to help guide them in their quest for self-rule.

Do you have their names (and contact info if possible)?

If you get no reply, I will send the info to you assuming you have good reason for the info. I do not want to post it.

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I got to go home for Christmas and was in and around the Woodlands plenty. There were many occassions when I heard people speaking spanish. I know much of the recent talk has been about blacks, but I just wanted to share my observations about Hispanics.

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Most if them are Mexican. There has been a huge influx of Mexican Nationals buying second homes here. They come here to escape the crime in Mexico and for their kids to learn english in American schools. In fact my son has 5 children in his class that just moved here from Mexico. This trend had made the paper a few times.

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This is probably a completely politically-incorrect post, but once someone told me: "if you see people dressed very nicely, even very fashionably (expensive leather jackets, etc.), and if they have white skin, but they're speaking Spanish...then they're probably Mexican Nationals".

Now you can all burn me at the stake for making ethnic stereotypes... :unsure:

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This is probably a completely politically-incorrect post, but once someone told me: "if you see people dressed very nicely, even very fashionably (expensive leather jackets, etc.), and if they have white skin, but they're speaking Spanish...then they're probably Mexican Nationals".

Now you can all burn me at the stake for making ethnic stereotypes... :unsure:

Very not true. Here is the story. There are many Italians, Germans and other people of European descent in South America, more so than Mexico. Some even have green or blue eyes. Most seem to live in mountainous areas.

As far as the population goes, there are many immigrants from South America. Language? Highly educated Latinos speak very good Spanish. If you know the accent, you can determine origin, not how well they speak the Spanish language. I c an understand Argentina Spanish better than most as a European language but they have an accent and pronounce some words quite differently. Well educated Mexicans will pronounce the language as Europeans because their education is typically private.

Edited by woody_hawkeye
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That is an incorrect statement also. There are white latinos here in TW. I would say most have some brown pigmentation however. You cannot tell a latino by the color of the skin.

Why do I feel like I have to spell things out? Or did you not get a chance to see my later comment?

People were discussing the prominence of whites in TW. I was simply pointing out that I have noticed more non-white Americans in TW.

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  • 2 months later...

There are two bills required in this session. Tonight Senator Williams was the keynote speaker to the annual association meeting. The first bill is currently in committee and expected to be out within days. This is a general bill to enable The Woodlands to execute the agreement made between Senator Williams and Mayor White. The second bill will be introduced afterwards. That will be a specific bill for The Woodlands governance. If all goes as planned, there will be a confirmation vote in The Woodlands in November, saying that residents want this to happen and then five district officals would be elected in May of next year to govern The Woodlands as an interim district solution. The transition will require the Assdociation and the Town Center to have equal partnerhip in moving assets and establishing the details. The association with its services will remain a part of the operational body.

Edited by woody_hawkeye
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thank you for the synopsis. although i haven't attended an association meeting, i'm always curious as to the outcome or discussion that occurs. i feel guilty for having strong opinions and then not attending.

There are a number of little group discussions before and afterwards. They sometimes discuss totally different subjects, as a social gathering. However I sensed a lot of discussion last night around the primeary subject matter. The association passed two resolutions to totally support the legislative bills, so there would not be any doubt that the association backs the bills outright. They also recognized outstanding volunteers for the year and gave a business synopsis of the preceeding year. I walked back to my truck with one of the VIPs in the Town Center and we talked about what villagers might be concerned about. I explained that from my perspective, the Town Center had a bit too much leverage with the outcome and that bothered me, yet I generally trust the people there to be sufficiently broad thinkers to consider the issues in the villages, as well as their own issues. I am definately on board in all of this and want it to happen. If we do not have politicians working the solutions for self-benefit, we will be better off after all this is completed. Practical consideration of what is really happening and getting residents input is required for success. We also need some strong education of the population. Senator Williams almost forgot to cover this base and that startled me a little. At the end, he did address what he believed to be the issues of the residents, as an afterthought, but noted to everyone that he had just missed some of his notes and apologized for returning to the podium to explain.

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Chronicle news - senate committee endorses bill 1012 (step 1a.). One small but significant step forward. Still in House committee

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/woodlands/news/4670061.html

"REGIONAL PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT BILL

* Allows simultaneous election for incorporation or alternative governing form

* Prevents early release from ETJ or annexation by petition

General News Article With Highlights Above

A bill to allow Houston and the Town Center Improvement District to establish a regional participation agreement to avoid annexation in exchange for funding regional projects passed its first hurdle in the Texas Senate Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1012, sponsored by state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, was approved by the Senate Intergovernmental Affairs Committee after a public hearing.

"We're excited," said Williams. "It is the first step in the legislative process. But we have a ways to go."

Because there was no opposition to the bill, it is expected to go to the Senate floor for a vote next week. A companion bill, HB 2197 sponsored by Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, has yet to go through the House, where is it assigned to the Land and Resource Management Committee.

"We're excited to get to this point," said Bruce Tough, a member of The Woodlands Community Association, who attended Wednesday's hearing. "We are excited to be in Austin and to go through the legislative process."

Bill specifics

With only two months left in the legislative session, a second bill to expand the boundaries of the Town Center Improvement District to serve most of The Woodlands has not yet been introduced. It is expected to be introduced in the Legislature at the end of this week or beginning of next weak, Williams said.

Williams recently identified the two-bill package as his top priority for this legislative session.

SB 1012, which was altered slightly in committee to tighten up language, allows cities of a certain size to enter agreements with special districts to participate in funding regional projects in exchange for a release from the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction. The bill is fashioned in such a way to apply to Houston and The Woodlands, without naming them specifically. A court case prohibits the Legislature from passing bills that benefit specific cities or areas.

Under a proposed agreement with Houston, TCID would pay an initial $16 million for public projects in transportation and parks and dedicate one-sixteenth of the 1-cent sales tax collected annually for projects, which is estimated at $45 million over the first 30 years. In exchange, Houston would agree to release The Woodlands from its extraterritorial jurisdiction, or future boundaries, in 2014 and allow it to pursue its own form of governance.

The second bill would expand and rename the TCID to serve all The Woodlands, Williams said. That bill is being tweaked to address concerns by surrounding cities that TCID could annex lands in their city limits or future boundaries.

Transition team

Meanwhile, TCID appointed members to a transition team that would investigate the role of the new district in providing services in The Woodlands. Three members from the TCID ? its president, chairman and chairman of its Governance and Nomination Committee ? will join three representatives from the Community Associations of The Woodlands in discussing the issues.

At the Community Associations, the presidents of The Woodlands Association, The Woodlands Community Association, The Woodlands Commercial Owners Association and The Woodlands Community Service Corp. will sit on the committee.

"The transition team will represent us with how things will shake out when the new district is formed," said Bob Kinnear, chair of TCID Governance and Nominations Committee.

Top on the agenda for TCID will be which agency will pay for services in The Woodlands. TCID funds public safety, economic development and operations in the Town Center area, along the Texas 242 commercial corridor and on parts of Research Forest through sales and hotel taxes. The Community Association of The Woodlands provides municipal-type serves to residents and businesses in the community through assessment fees.

The expanded district, which will be able to collect sales tax revenues from village centers and strip centers, is expected to have the ability to collect hotel and sales tax as well as property taxes.

Issues to consider

The Community Associations of The Woodlands presented an initial list of transition issues when it adopted a white paper on the guiding principles for proceeding with the governance bills. Among the issues are:

The impact on the Mutual Benefits Agreement, a contract among The Community Associations, The Woodlands Development Co. and The Woodlands Fire Department that spells out the service provisions in the community.

What services, assets or liabilities should be transferred to the expanded TCID and when?

Will all areas of The Woodlands be covered, and what is the obligation to cover areas not within the new boundaries?

How will the regional participation agreement be funded?

What impact will this have on The Woodlands Fire Department?

How will outside contracts, such as the community policing initiative or labor agreements, be affected?

How will staff at the Community Associations and TCID be impacted?

What happens if only one bills passes?

What kinds of powers will the new board have?

In another matter, TCID Vice President Vicki Richmond, a Town Center resident, resigned from the Committee of Governance and Nomination, saying she intends to seek the nomination for chairman of the TCID at its May reorganization meeting."

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  • 3 weeks later...

The general bill passed the Senate today. The House version was put on the table and actiopn is expected next week. The compannion bill in the House and Senate are in committees the last I looked.

SB 1012

Relating to the establishment of regional participation agreements between certain municipalities and districts; authorizing the issuance of bonds.

4/27/2007 H Passed

HB 2197

Relating to the establishment of regional participation agreements between certain municipalities and districts; authorizing the issuance of bonds.

4/27/2007 H Laid on the table subject to call

Edited by woody_hawkeye
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  • 4 months later...
  • 5 months later...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/woo...ws/5523970.html

The Woodlands begins its road to independence

Unincorporated community raises tax for fire service

They still live in an unincorporated community, but property owners in The Woodlands will soon get their first taste of city-like taxes.

Effective April 1, the master-planned community will take its first step toward a unified form of governance by raising the sales tax by 2 cents per dollar

Edited by lockmat
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How did y'all interpret that article?

2 cent sales tax, plus a 30 cent property tax is what I read. Of course, I also read that Nelda Luce Blair is "ecstatic" about taxes. Could it be because her law firm files delinquent tax lawsuits against homeowners?

I would also consider it news to find out my taxes were doubling in 2010. It looks to me that Grogan's Mill, Panther Creek and Cochran's Crossing currently have 14 cent association fees. These fees will be replaced by the 30 cent property tax PLUS the 2 cent sales tax, in addition to the MUD taxes that appear to remain unchanged. Hardly sounds like something to be "ecstatic" about.

Current Woodlands Tax Rates

Edited by RedScare
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2 cent sales tax, plus a 30 cent property tax is what I read. Of course, I also read that Nelda Luce Blair is "ecstatic" about taxes. Could it be because her law firm files delinquent tax lawsuits against homeowners?

I would also consider it news to find out my taxes were doubling in 2010. It looks to me that Grogan's Mill, Panther Creek and Cochran's Crossing currently have 14 cent association fees. These fees will be replaced by the 30 cent property tax PLUS the 2 cent sales tax, in addition to the MUD taxes that appear to remain unchanged. Hardly sounds like something to be "ecstatic" about.

Current Woodlands Tax Rates

The problem here is that we have a heavy discount for two years because of surplus bank funds by underspending the budget, which accrued over several years. The older parts of The Woodlands is in the WCA. It also includes Indian Springs east. In 2010 that discount will go away for those villages, a true fluke in the process, masking the reality of the tax situation. Of course if one spends a lot of money in The Woodlands, he might be paying a lot more taxes but when I computed my purchases that will be taxed, I gain a lot by the new taxes. The reason? I bear less of a percentage of the tax burden because I spend less with a lower income and partof the sales tax revenues are applied to the association service costs (the fire fighting services). The ad valorum is lower than my association dues. The tax rate in 2010 will be lower than 2007. But the tables look neat.

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  • 4 years later...

This little gem almost escaped unnoticed.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Taxes-dampen-enthusiasm-for-Woodlands-3465234.php

If the Woodlands incorporates in November, tax rates may have to rise 70% to cover necessary municipal expenditures. I wonder what the Woodlands boosters have to say about this possibility. Are you still all in favor of incorporating, and escaping from under the thumb of evil Houston? Does the fact that your tax rates will be higher than Houston's make you rethink the argument that incorporation is the only way to escape Houston's "high taxes"?

I predicted this 4 years ago, but was scoffed at by the boosters. What say you today?

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This little gem almost escaped unnoticed.

http://www.chron.com...nds-3465234.php

If the Woodlands incorporates in November, tax rates may have to rise 70% to cover necessary municipal expenditures. I wonder what the Woodlands boosters have to say about this possibility. Are you still all in favor of incorporating, and escaping from under the thumb of evil Houston? Does the fact that your tax rates will be higher than Houston's make you rethink the argument that incorporation is the only way to escape Houston's "high taxes"?

I predicted this 4 years ago, but was scoffed at by the boosters. What say you today?

i thought of you, red, when i saw the article. i hate to say it, but you might have been right all along! this is THE SUCK!

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A 70% tax increase is absolutely the suck. But, building a city from scratch is expensive. And, building a city from scratch with the amenities of the Woodlands, as well as maintaining those amenities, is even moreso. I don't begrudge Woodlands residents the right to have these amenities, or the right to incorporate in order to keep, maintain, and improve the amenities. However, I always had the gut feeling that those selling the city concept were being a bit dishonest about the tax burden. Now, it appears that they were...or at least a bit too optimisitic.

All is not lost. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Township setup. If the Woodlands residents are satisfied with the police protection provided by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, and the Justic of the Peace services provided by Edie Connelly's office, there is no reason to duplicate those services by incorporating. If residents can live with the indignity of not being an actual city, then the current setup will work well for them.

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

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