Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Woodlands Independence from Houston

Isn't it great to have a guarantee of not being governed by another city, especially Houston? We don't have their taxes, police force, their ordinances, their firefighting standards, their trash and garbage schedules, their environmental standards, their 911 call centers, or their standards for a "quality life". We set our own standards and our own direction. That was what I considered when we began our trek to govern ourselves.

I remember participating in the meetings with residents to determine what our issues were, where we wanted to go, and what was most important to us. Security and taxes were our utmost concern. Water should have been also, but our vision for that issue seemed further out then. Our water problems have accelerated as the build-out accelerated, and the Montgomery county growth significantly impacted water consumption. Slower reservoir recharging due to drought has also impacted the urgency to supplement our well water with potable surface water.  Now that issue is probably our biggest tax threat.

I recall going door-to-door getting support from the community for all three propositions. I did not want Houston to annex us; the date they could do that was quickly approaching. They could annex us as early as 2014, and from all indications they would have strong financial incentives to do so. All they had to do was to build a fire station within a certain distance of our community and bang! They could have and would have done it.

I wrote several articles on the subject of those propositions, and many people read them. I did my own risk assessment based on the knowledge I had gleaned from working with many people on the project. That exercise took a lot of time, but it was well worth it. Today, I stand firm on what was done. That was a good decision. We have not lowered our taxes as much as I had hoped. In fact, the WCA has not lowered its taxes at all. I will write another article on taxes a little later.

Here are the links to articles I wrote on the Township creation (three propositions) back then. You can see I have cautiously supported the Township concept from the beginning and have never backed off.

1. Residents Value System 
2. Road to Governance
3. Governance in a nutshell
4. Panel Discussion with Woodlands Decides 
5. The Decision
6. Congratulations to The Woodlands

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