Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nelda Blair Editorial Nov 6

By Nelda Luce Blair,
Chairman of the Board, Town Center Improvement District

WHAT are these three Propositions that voters in The Woodlands will be asked to consider on Tuesday, November 6, 2007?

The Propositions stem from legislation passed in the 2007 Texas Legislative Session. Authored by State Senator Tommy Williams and State Representative Rob Eissler, the legislation had its roots in recommendations from a 5-year study by The Woodlands Governance Steering Committee. Basically, through Regional Participation Agreements with the cities of Houston and Conroe, The Woodlands will contribute a portion of its sales tax towards regional projects, and in exchange, The Woodlands is released from the possibility of annexation by these cities.

In connection with implementing the Regional Participation Agreements, residents will be asked to vote FOR or AGAINST three Propositions:
1. Confirm the expansion of the Town Center Improvement District (TCID) boundaries to cover all of The Woodlands;
2. Confirm the restructuring of the TCID Board of Directors to be elected by all of The Woodlands residents;
3. The levy of an ad valorem property tax by TCID (in place of community association assessments).

The legislation provides that the election take place this November. If the Propositions do not pass, the opportunities expire and there is no provision for another election.

WHO are the Town Center Improvement District, and The Woodlands Township?
TCID is a local government created in 1993 by the Texas Legislature, whose boundaries have been expanded several times since its inception. It provides public safety and economic development to the Town Center area of The Woodlands. As an existing governmental entity, TCID was designated in the legislation to become a part of the Regional Participation Agreements, rather than create an all new government body. If the Propositions are passed by the voters, the name of TCID will change to "The Woodlands Township" to better reflect its constituents and responsibilities.

HOW does The Woodlands proceed if the Propositions are passed, and how does The Woodlands proceed if the Propositions are not passed?
If Passed: The TCID will change its name to The Woodlands Township, its boundaries will expand to cover all of The Woodlands, and its board of directors will become fully elected. The Woodlands Township will be able to assess an ad valorem property tax, to reduce current community association assessments on a dollar for dollar basis. The ad valorem tax will be deductible from federal income taxes, whereas the community association assessments are not. The ad valorem tax rate will be less than the current community association assessment rates. The Woodlands residents will be free from forced annexation, and will have the opportunity to choose a future form of government.
If Not Passed: (Note: Propositions 1 and 2 are dependent on one another. If either fails to pass, they both fail, and so does Proposition #3. The TCID will not evolve into The Woodlands Township, its boundaries will not be expanded, and the board of directors will not be reorganized. The Regional Participation Agreements with the cities of Houston and Conroe will be null. Various parts of The Woodlands will remain within the extraterritorial jurisdictions of those cities, subject to annexation by them. The community associations’ assessments will not be replaced by an ad valorem property tax. WHERE do voters register, and vote? Residents of The Woodlands who are registered to vote by October 9, 2007 are eligible to vote in the election on Tuesday, November 6, 2007, and in early voting from October 22 through November 2, 2007, at voting locations designated by the Montgomery County Elections Administrator.

WANT MORE? Details, links to the legislation and the elections office, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the informational web site

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