Photo by Andrew Richardson
The Woodlands Township Board of Directors approved a financial model for possible incorporation, one that represents a proposed tax increase of 70.4 percent in township property taxes.
That percentage is down more than 8 percent from the original model proposed by Partners for Strategic Action, the firm hired by the township to lead its governance study process. The township is preparing for a potential 2014 vote on whether to incorporate as a city or remain as a township.
The financial model is the latest data to be presented by PSA and the township representing what residents could be facing should they elect to become a city in two years.
The most significant change in the original model presented by PSA and the one approved by the township is the estimated costs for road maintenance projects, said Curt Dunham, chief executive officer of PSA.
“We lowered the estimated costs for road maintenance for the first few years of the incorporation model,” Dunham said. “We found some projects in the Montgomery County bond project we were using for cost estimates that were outside of the township boundaries.”
By removing those projects from the cost estimate of the original model, the first estimate of about $132 million in improvements was lowered to about $78 million, Dunham said.
“We removed maintenance projects from Precincts 2 and 4,” he said. “The county said there would be no major work on those projects for the next 10 years, so that lowered the assessments a couple of cents.”
The approved model still utilizes the staffing levels proposed in the original document. According to PSA, the township would need to hire nearly 200 additional employees under incorporation.
The model will be used to educate residents of the township and the business community about the effects of incorporation should The Woodlands residents vote to become a city in 2014. Township director Claude Hunter said the projections could change based on input from the community.
“It needs to be understood this is a working process, and as such it very likely will be revised,” Hunter said. “If there are flaws, the public should help us find these flaws so we can request additional analysis.”