Tuesday, December 16, 2008

City of Houston Mayor White and The Woodlands Government

As many know, the mayor of Houston played a key role to open the door for self determination of government in The Woodlands. His open-mindedness allowed us to be creative in our solution to governing ourselves. The timing could not have been better, since a seasoned mayor was in the position at the time of the government study and election. As a result, we have avoided being a part of that city and have control over our destiny with a government of our own.

Today, Mayor Bill White announced his candidacy for the Senate of the United States1. Although his campaign is just starting, he shows a very good plate of credentials as a candidate for the Senate. I'm reasonably sure he will get support here.

We recognized from the beginning that the timing of the election was critical in moving forward with the township proposal when we did. It was important to have the support of Houston's mayor. Houston had the right to annex us; very little was required on their part to move an annex plan forward and close it in 2013. The city would get 1% sales tax from Town Center businesses and 2% sales tax from the rest of The Woodlands if it annexed us. Who would know then (when we voted on the proposals) how long the mayor would hold his influential position? Now we see him possibly moving on, vacating the position to someone else.

Visionary is the word. That has been and continues to be the word in major milestones throughout the history of The Woodlands. I still believe in our government and seek its success. Let's see what progress is being made and review where we stand in January. The year 2009 will be a very critical one of transition as the associations wither away and the Township takes hold of all their functions and responsibilities. This will be the year when the taxation process must replace association dues process. In the year 2010, we will be paying Montgomery County our ad valorem taxes for the Township AND our property taxes. Therefore, the timing of assessments will be different, coincident with the county assessments. The budgeting process will be different, because you must know how much is needed in the coffers before you can set the tax rate. As we approach 2010, we must be aware of and involved in the transition and its issues.

So good luck mayor! Your contribution to the formation of The Woodlands Township showed thoughtful leadership and innovation. You showed your ability to perceive a win/win situation, be decisive, aggregate political support and bring your decision into action, in time for it to be effective.

1Bill White For Texas Campaign Site

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