Community Leaders Speak Against Incorporation of The Woodlands at Incorporation Education Series, Hosted by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce

By: Rachel Norton
| Published 09/15/2021


THE WOODLANDS, TX — The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce held its second Incorporation Education Series, Wednesday, Sept. 15, where three community leaders spoke: Jim Carman, President of the Houston Region for The Howard Hughes Corporation, Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, and Dr. Ann Snyder, Board Member of The Woodlands Township. Gordy Bunch, Chairman of The Board of The Woodlands Township was scheduled to speak, but could not make it.

Woodlands Online live-streamed the event, which can be found at this link.

Please note: The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce does not currently have a position on incorporation, but the board plans to meet at the end of the month to decide on a resolution of either for or against.

Carman began, he spoke on why Howard Hughes is taking a public stand against incorporation. He discussed the foundation of The Woodlands and the symbiotic relationship of the community.

“Taxes will impact all of us,” he said. “Every investor in The Woodlands, every homeowner, every business, every employee, every restaurant, every mom & pop, every hotel. It's all tied together.”

He challenged the figures found in the incorporation financial study, stating that Bill Frazier, longtime CPA, and former president of the Houston CPA Society, looked over the figures and allegedly found inconsistencies.

Carman also addressed concerns over public safety, should incorporation pass, stating that the incorporation model ignores liability for police departments, and does not address pension plans, collective bargaining, or the setting up of a police union. He said that it, “ignores entire departments that we benefit from today at the county.”

“This study is flawed,” he continued. “It has major gaps, and it's not just a threat to cost, it’s [a threat] to public safety. I don't like that. I don't find that acceptable, and I think it should concern every single one of us.”

*Skip to timestamp 15:57 for Jim Carman’s speech*

“It’s risky, it’s rushed, and it’s expensive,” Commissioner Noack commented in regard to incorporation. He pointed out that The Woodlands Township did not develop The Woodlands, stating, “The Township didn't build any of this. They are the custodians … They're simply the caretakers, and I don't want them to mess this up. It's too big of an investment.”

He went on to say: “Do you really believe that we can incorporate for the same tax rate? … We have [to have] police services, we have to have road bridge services, we have to have a municipal court system, all of the things associated with the city that [The Township does not] provide today. Somehow they're going to be able to provide it all for the same tax rate that we pay today? So, either we've been getting hosed for a long time, right? We're paying way too much now, or they're going to offer very little in the future.”

He continued: “There may be a time when we are all sitting here together talking about how and why do we incorporate. It's not today, it’s not tomorrow, and it certainly isn't November 2.”

*Comissioner Noack’s speech starts at timestamp 42:06*

Dr. Ann Snyder, Board member of The Woodlands Township, agreed that Nov. 2 of this year is not the time to place incorporation on the ballot. She read aloud the statement she made at the Aug. 13 Township meeting, which reads in part:

“Our residents need to be educated in order to make an informed decision. If we vote to become a city, it's permanent. There are no do overs … There are several new factors that have led me to say that this is not the time to place incorporation on the November 2021 ballot … It is important that the entire board and the resident have time to review the new financial model. Residents have meaningful comments after receipt of report and they too are stakeholders in our community … This board has stated repeatedly that we would place incorporation on the ballot during an even number year to ensure that more people would be encouraged to vote by having a larger turnout of our residents … Equally as important, we all know that we are again in a COVID resurgence. People have been and are suffering with mental and physical challenges. Many are still struggling and their attention is on COVID, not incorporation.”

*Dr. Snyder’s speech begins at timestamp 1:05:19*

Public comment followed.

Important dates:
• Early voting starts October 18
• Election day is November 2

The Woodlands Township will hold its own Incorporation Study Informative Meeting Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6:00 p.m. at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott & Convention Center. Residents and businesses are invited.
Address: 1601 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380

| View the live stream via this link |
| View the Incorporation Study Consolidated Report |
| Continued resources on incorporation provided by The Woodlands Township |

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