OPINION: The Implications of Incorporation

By: James Noack
| Published 10/16/2021


Dear Woodlands residents,

As many of you are aware, a majority of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors decided to place the incorporation referendum on the November 2, 2021, ballot for voters to decide whether The Woodlands will become its own city.

As your elected Precinct 3 commissioner, it is my job to provide the best services to my constituents, in the most economical manner, keeping your money in your pocket. This responsibility provided to me is not one that I take lightly; and I want my constituents to understand the implications that incorporation would have on your county services, such as road and drainage work as well as law enforcement, within The Woodlands boundaries.

As recent natural disasters such as the crippling freeze last February, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and even Hurricane Nicholas just a few weeks ago should remind constituents, the 24/7 proactive services and response provided by the Precinct 3 Commissioner’s Office road crews as well as county law enforcement officers have ensured residents of The Woodlands receive around-the-clock public safety efforts since the master-planned community was founded almost a half-century ago.

Residents familiar with the incorporation debate already know that the threat of annexation by the cities of Houston and Conroe, or any other city for that matter, is a non-issue and only being used by the pro-incorporation board members to instill fear into voters. However, thanks to the Regional Participation Agreement and state law passed in 2017, The Woodlands NEVER will be annexed by Houston, Conroe or any other city without a vote of approval by residents of The Woodlands.

So, the only way Woodlands residents would lose their outstanding county services for law enforcement, roads and drainage is through the ill-planned and extremely costly idea of incorporation – all at taxpayer expense.

It is clear that residents should VOTE AGAINST incorporation in order to prevent increased regulation and taxation in this township board effort to grow government and burden home and business owners with higher property taxes and millions of dollars in new fees.

Here are services that no longer would be provided by the county to residents of The Woodlands if incorporation passes:

Road/Drainage Services

• Major/Minor Road Improvements and Repairs– Multimillion-dollar projects for mobility improvements; full-depth concrete repair, asphalt overlay and associated subgrade work; replacement of damaged guardrail; bridge repair; regrading/reconstructing gutters/streets for proper drainage; crack-sealing pavement; minor asphalt patchwork, concrete and curb repair

• Construction/Engineering Services – Project design, traffic/mobility studies, construction management, materials testing, inspections

• Development Reviews – Review of development plans, drainage impact, traffic effects and roadway access points

• Signage – Printing, installation, maintenance, repair, replacement and purchasing all materials

• Roadside Drainage – Culvert installation, inspection and maintenance; ditch grading and cleaning; slope erosion repair; hydroseeding

• Striping/Pavement Markings – Thermoplastic or paint along all roadway lanes, crosswalks and curbs; reflectors along the lane striping and delineators

• Trees/Vegetation – Trimming for clear roads/visibility/hazards; removal of dead and fallen trees; mowing medians, rights of way

• Roadway/Right-of-way Maintenance – Street sweeping, litter pick-up, dead animal removal, debris/road hazard removal, bandit sign removal, clearing illegal dumping

• Traffic Control – Placing temporary signage, barrels and barricades to protect residents from road hazards/large debris; flaggers to reroute traffic during major events such as storms, freezes and wildfires, accidents and other emergency situations

• Traffic Control (major events) – Coordination/planning of routes for major races and parades, as well as building construction; associated detours, signage, manpower/resources, traffic signalization; public safety patrol

• Emergency/Natural Disaster Response – Providing barricades for road closures, traffic control, major debris removal, rescues and more during major storms, freezes, wildfires and major accidents, emergencies and other unplanned events

• On-Call services – Road/drainage crews rotate on-call 24/7 services for traffic-related and drainage issues that compromise public safety along roadways and rights of way

• Mosquito spraying

• Justice of the Peace oversight of certain cases

• Animal Control

• Animal Shelter

Additional Losses/Costs

• The Woodlands will lose and must replace the institutional knowledge, multiple years of experience and familiarity with all aspects of the community among the county road crews, law enforcement officers and their respective managers/supervisors.

• While still paying county taxes, The Woodlands residents will not receive any county funding for the millions of dollars necessary for road projects, improvements and maintenance; capital investments to purchase all necessary vehicles, heavy equipment, tools and materials in order to provide all the services listed in this letter; as well as the additional annual costs of law enforcement to run a fully operational police department, the cost for construction of a new police station, public works facilities and all associated capital investments for purchases of vehicles, equipment, uniforms and supplies.

Local Control

• Residents already have local control over government, roads, law enforcement, water and sewer. We already elect our county commissioner, sheriff, constable, MUD directors and justice of the peace. These officials are accountable to residents every day – including Election Day.

Vote Against Incorporation

In summary, incorporation is Risky, Rushed and Expensive. Vote Against Incorporation Nov. 2 or during early voting Oct. 18-29.

James Noack

Montgomery County, Precinct 3 Commissioner
Woodlands Resident, Village of Sterling Ridge

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