The Woods, Texas – With the vote to incorporate the community into a town in just six weeks, the Township of Woodlands is hosting a public information meeting on September 23 for residents and businesses to meet with the board of directors and consultants of the canton and ask their questions about incorporation. The meeting will be held at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center at 1601 Lake Robbins Drive and will begin at 6:00 p.m.
The transition from a district with a specific vocation to a real municipality has been on the table for years. When Kingwood was annexed by Houston in 1996, concerns spread around The Woodlands that the same would happen to their community. They currently have an agreement that as long as The Woodlands pays 1 / 16th of its sales tax to Houston, annexation is not in discussion until the agreement expires in 2057.
The current push to incorporate traces dates back to 2016. In that year, The Woodlands Township established an Incorporation Reserve to fund the process and in 2018 hired a consulting firm to study the prospect. While the study and general effort stalled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, research and discussion resumed in 2021, leading to the issue being put to the ballot on November 2. .
Several government entities and private companies have taken a stand on the issue since the city council released its report outlining the incorporation process. In particular, the effects incorporation would have on law enforcement became an important point of discussion. A 96-page review of the plan written by two retired Houston law enforcement officials was posted on September 14 and raised further questions about The Woodlands’ preparation for the enforcement transition. the law.
The report was written by Timothy Oettmeier, retired executive assistant director of Houston PD, and Joseph Fenninger, retired deputy director and financial director of Houston PD. It was commissioned and published by Howard Hughes Corporation, which is The Woodlands’ largest taxpayer and publicly opposes the vote.
Their report criticizes the plans made by the city council on issues such as operating costs, vehicle costs and the lack of planning of costs associated with liability, digital evidence processing and various other aspects of the work of the police. Criticism also contends that the council’s report does not contain any information regarding financial crime investigation services, special victim cases, computer crimes, juvenile crimes and gang activity.
âOur assessment was based entirely on the accuracy and merits of the projections and descriptions of the township’s law enforcement options, regardless of the prospects for incorporation. In our opinion, the plan falls far short of providing a reliable plan for ensuring public safety in the Woodlands, âsaid Oettmeier.
Referring to the Howard Hughes Corporation report, Agent Ryan Gable of Montgomery County Precinct 3 recently expressed his views in a social media post, stating, âI support the recently released assessment showing a lack of funding for law enforcement by a future town of The Woodlands and see no valid reason to incorporate as a town. We provide excellent law enforcement services through my agency and the Sheriff’s Department, making The Woodlands, TX one of the safest places to live, work and play.
Currently, law enforcement in the Woodlands is primarily provided by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Montgomery County Constable for Police Station 3, and the Harris County Constable for Police Station 4.
The incorporation vote will take place on November 2, 2021 and October 4 will be the last day to register to vote.