Sunday, April 29, 2012

Property Taxes in The Woodlands Texas

It is close to budget time in The Woodlands once more. After the election, the elected Woodlands Township Board will discover how much property values will be available and then try to spend the taxes from it. Each home is taxed based on the appraised value of the home to pay the bills of the Township. The process dictates management via a percentage of appraised value. So you have local inflation built into your taxes and your life. Here, this is often very different from the inflation rate for salary raises determined by companies using the national rate of inflation. As long as spending goes up, your taxes will go up. So what percentage pay increase do you get each year? If you got 3%, I bet your taxes went up by more than that. My taxes were raised by 10% (maximum by law) year before last, because my house was appraised at 18% above the previous year, and I fought the adjustment. I am thinking it would be better if I were to sell the house and lease it out, because the lease rate would rise with less of an impact to others, but to me on a fixed income, it impacts me negatively. How about you? Are you staying here? Can you afford huge home tax inflation in your life? Then a year ago, I ran across an attempt in Willis, Texas to deal with the situation pragmatically. Tax on dollars and not on inflating values is the proposal being considered. Why does the government receive a financial windfall when we intend to stay in our homes? Isn't that for transients and not for the base community?  We need our taxes indexed by dollars, tempered by inflation rates, not by the uncontrolled contracted sale of homes in our neighborhood. At the very least we need a cap on taxes governed by the inflation rate. We are constantly paying for area growth, thereby subsidizing developers in our area.

The bottom line is that when a politician says he will keep the tax rate down at 3.2 cents per $100 appraised value or whatever, he means he supports taxation inflation in dollars. Let's stop this practice!

Then what about Homestead exemptions? Personally, I am for encouraging ownership of property in The Woodlands by the residents who live in the home. That is done through Homestead Exemptions. This type of exemption is intended to provide an incentive for home owners to live here. Our Board of Directors has voted not to have such a break for homeowners. Let's fix this problem. Income to the Township is at an all time high. Why do we as residents not see some benefits? We struggle in the traffic and with the related noise.
What cities do not have Homestead exemptions? Why do so many have these exemptions and why? Why don't we have one in The Woodlands? The state of Texas allows Homestead exemptions for very good reasons, yet The Woodlands, Texas does not yet have one. There was an opportunity two years ago, but the directors just do not seem to be on top of the real important things (yet). We sit in limbo between a bona fide city and a rural  community with HOA-like governing responsibilities. We are an HOA in a rural community with a downtown business community we call Town Center. Our laws are county laws. Our roads are managed and governed by the county. The Woodlands Development Co continues to make decisions for us, without consulting us. Our directors manage a $90+ million budget. Our community requires taxation to service debt and pay operating bills, but it does not need to be for government-owned businesses.

Vote conservative and vote for fair taxes that mean something, to provide services and not so encourage rental properties and not for creating community-owned businesses.    

Monday, February 20, 2012

2011 Voting Records of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors

Voting Record Documents for viewing (in PDF format)

Explanation and other resources
These voting records are extracted from the minutes of the Woodlands Township Board meetings. They document to the best of my ability, each decision in those minutes, with intent towards brevity and simple language. This is organized by subject matter and can be a used as a tool to find a motion and then seek the minutes for the associated meeting through the Township website.

If you want the exact wording from the minutes, I suggest visiting the Township website at

There are videos of these meetings, so the demeanor of the Directors and the rationale behind some of  their votes can be seen by the public. Videos of the meetings are found at this location on the Township website:

Information to support each proposal is provided to the Board by the senior staff of The Woodlands Township or presenters at meetings. These documents on the most part are also available on the website at Remember that information on a topic can be more informative from the previous workshop meeting, when the Directors may be more apt to discuss an item and may ask for more information to be presented at the actual Board Meeting for the month. In some months, there are Special Meetings to receive information and/or to make decisions. I believe I have captured all the formal decisions of the Board of Directors in the two documents I have published here. 

The information provided here is also intended to provide the vote on each motion of decision to see how each Director stands on a particular subject. You will be able to observe other trends and be able to discern where disagreements or agreements are found on the Board. Absenteeism is also a part of the data provided. This is intended to provide a scorecard approach, where Township Directors are more visible in their actions and thereby held more accountable for their decisions or lack thereof, when elections roll around.  A report card this is not, but feasible to also produce. Remember that the Board of Directors were responsible for managing an incredible $92+ million budget in 2011, all collected from taxpayers owning assets in or visiting this community. 2011 Budget reference

Election Notice - Water Districts The Woodlands

Check to see if one of the municipal districts below serve you. If so, consider applying for a director position on that Board. Regardless, please vote for your directors in the early election or at the General Election on May 12th.  

Filing Information

Filing for director positions with the Municipal Utility Districts served by The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency is under way. Elections will occur on May 12, 2012 for The Woodlands Metro MUD, The Woodlands MUD No. 2 and Montgomery County MUD Nos. 6, 7, 36, 39, 40, 46, 47, 60 and 67.
Candidates may file from February 4 to March 5, 2012. Application packets are available at the WJPA Water Resources Building, 2455 Lake Robbins Drive, 77380. Completed applications must also be returned to this same location. Filing, obtaining application packets and returning application packets may only be done during regular WJPA office hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Voting Information

Early voting: April 30 through May 7. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Election day: May 12. Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Both early voting and election day voting will occur at the Water Resources Building office located on map below.

Google Map

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two key elections face The Woodlands

I hope you are like I am, with strong interest in the local Woodlands, Texas elections. This 2012 year will be another crucial year for our community. Please be in tune with what is occurring in The Woodlands Township election, as well as the county.

One incumbent, County Commissioner for precinct 3, has decided not to run. He is apparently retiring from public office. Ed Chance has been in that position for a long time now, and has orchestrated the development of amenities and services for south county, i.e., the area of The Woodlands. He is has been responsible for developing the park along Spring Creek, maintaining our local roads, monitoring traffic and installing cameras at intersections here. He has overseen the operation of our recycling facility and generally represented us in the County's affairs. I will be commenting on that position as time moves on, but for now, you should be aware of the role of this position in The Woodlands Township. It is no accident that a key political figure, Nelda Blair, Director on The Woodlands Township Board, is managing the campaign of Mr. Kenny Speight for this position. She is part of the "GOP establishment" and has interesting motives behind that campaign. Watch here for my insights which I plan to share. 

Four Woodlands Township Director positions are up for election. You might want to know more about the incumbents, and their roles in the current politics of the Board. I will be addressing that directly this year. If you are happy with the outcome and decisions of the Board, you may want to keep these incumbents in place, but beware! By doing so, you may be relying on a select few of the other members of the Board, not these four.