OPINION: NO for the Woodlands Incorporation
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Dear Fellow Residents: Please Vote “AGAINST” Incorporation
Please Do Not be complacent. Our Hometown is being challenged. Please get out and Vote NO to Incorporation. Preserve the Woodlands and our #1 Rated community.
The Woodlands is the envy of every city in the country. Even with “free money” and “control,” which are the false ideals touted by incorporation proponents, these cities and other communities cannot come close to matching the unequaled hometown feel, quality of life, and operational efficiency of our town. In The Woodlands, “results” is the only meaningful word on which to focus.
The residents are happy, and our community is unique. So why change? Why would anybody want to pay higher taxes to chase mediocrity? There is a dark feel to the lack of transparency, false assumptions, one-sided narrative, and brazenly political tactics being used to advance this harmful push to incorporate as a city. We need to be alarmed and we need to understand that our very community is being challenged.
Attending the Township Board’s non-Public Forum on September 23 was genuinely concerning. The entire evening was funded by taxpayer money and yet was fully dedicated to the one-sided propaganda of the power-hungry incorporation zealots, who allowed no challenges to their presentation – no microphone access to any citizen, no chance to express an opposing view, and no presentation of the overwhelming merits of our continued successful Township business model.
The Township Board is supposed to represent all citizens. Instead, the Board is using its bully pulpit in a full-throated promotion of incorporation. In addition, they are using taxpayer money fund political consultants and their pro-incorporation campaign, $1 million+ consultants, non-public forum meetings, $20 million budget set-asides, social media blitzes, and one-sided websites to promote a dangerous and unnecessary change to our long-standing successful governance.
In fact, it recently emerged that since September the Township has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a Dallas-based political consultants and tens of thousands more on advertising and video production to try to talk residents into passing incorporation.
This seems unethical, at the very least. Potentially, it’s illegal.
Our only way to fight back and present the view the majority of residents have – the view the Township would know if they had bothered to even ask - has been to donate our time and money to get the truth out and alert people of the facts and the precipice we are in danger of being pushed over. The Woodlands can never return to the Township governance if it incorporates. The results of November 2 will be permanent.
We know their motive is not to create a better place in which to live, since we are all already in the best place – the #1 place – to live!
The Township Board has already paid their incorporation consulting firm – different from their political communications firm – more than $1 million of taxpayer money to produce their official incorporation narrative. Why hasn’t the Board made an equal investment in a study of the tactics and strategy for a continued, robust Township governance?
Considering the consulting firm cited their credentials as all former city government officials turned consultants, it’s no surprise that their view of every issue is a city government answer.
The firm offered no example of a shining city to which we could aspire … because, of course, The Woodlands is already the shining example to which others aspire. The only reference they mentioned of their previous work was King County, Washington … home of Seattle. Is that what is in store for The Woodlands? Becoming a cesspool like Seattle has turned into?
The Board has also siphoned off $20 million of taxpayer money to fund their Incorporation desires. This has become a slush fund to cover over all the missing dollars from the consultants’ report and enhance the false promise of no new taxes needed. This dark tactic uses our Township money to falsely support an incorporation scenario for which we have not yet voted.
Money is always the key. When they promise not to raise the tax rate, they really mean “not right away”!
Property values in the Woodlands are rising rapidly, since everyone wants to escape the city and its higher taxes, increasing crime, political corruption, and dictatorial regulations. So, even if we pay the same fixed tax rate as last year, our total tax revenue swells – because we’re paying more in taxes – and the township has huge surpluses. Therefore, any responsible Board would decrease tax rates as property values increase, to actually hold the line on the amount of taxes we pay. Yet they try to bait seniors into voting for this by saying they can “freeze” senior taxes if we incorporate without EVER mentioning they can – right now – pass a homestead exemption to cut EVERY homeowner’s taxes.
This is how they get control of millions of our dollars to begin funding a huge city bureaucracy, with buildings, administrators (they plan to hire a city secretary at a $171,000/year salary!), infrastructure, and more to ultimately advance the ambitions of those that seek power, control, and notoriety. These expenses will always grow and our taxes will always increase.
Being in the control path of these millions of dollars and the influence they provide is also how city government officials ensure their re-election. SO, our much-talked-about “control,” and promises of “freedom” will go the way of every other city government that finds itself running at the whim of elected elites. And the increased taxes will stall the unique economic engine that fuels the Woodlands.
All this money will be spent, according to the consulting firm’s own presentation, in a desperate attempt to try and keep the level of all our services and lifestyle at the same current top quality – with no promise that this can really be done. The unintended consequences are overwhelming!
These are just a couple of the issues that are driving the citizens of The Woodlands to reject this unwarranted and unwanted ballot initiative. We could go through each in detail, but the overriding answer is the same.
Please do not be complacent. We need your help. Please get out and VOTE AGAINST INCORPORATION to keep our hometown as the unique #1 place to live in the nation!