Incorporation Facts

PUBLIC EDUCATION SUMMARY

The following Public Education Summary is provided for your information. The Public Education Summary compares key topics arranged in categories and how they would be affected if the community remains as The Woodlands Township, OR if it becomes the City of The Woodlands. Topics include law enforcement, drainage and flood mitigation, path to local control, government authority, utilities, transportation/roads, building standards, community planning and financial implications. Please take time to read this information on how incorporating into the City of The Woodlands could affect you.

What is The Woodlands Township?

The Woodlands Township is a “Special Purpose” government district, authorized by state statute. The Township is unincorporated and its boundaries are within both Montgomery County and Harris County, the Extraterritorial Jurisdictions of the City of Houston and the City of Conroe, and primarily within the municipal utility boundaries of 11 Woodlands Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs).

Though the Township governance and administrative model has allowed it to offer municipal types of services, core service areas such as law enforcement and transportation infrastructure maintenance are delivered by county agencies. Water, wastewater, and stormwater management services are provided by multiple Municipal Utility Districts throughout

The Woodlands. While the Township has entered into contracted arrangements with the county agencies to provide enhanced law enforcement services, the Township’s authority to direct those services is limited.

In 2018, The Township Board of Directors initiated a study to consider the benefits and impacts of municipal incorporation. This draft study has been completed and the Township Board of Directors is considering placing incorporation on a future general election ballot for consideration by the voters of The Woodlands.

The following summary has been developed to show changes in governmental responsibility and services that would occur with municipal incorporation of The Woodlands.

PUBLIC EDUCATION SUMMARY

The following Public Education Summary is provided for your information. The Public Education Summary compares key topics arranged in categories and how they would be affected if the community remains as The Woodlands Township, OR if it becomes the City of The Woodlands. Topics include law enforcement, drainage and flood mitigation, path to local control, government authority, utilities, transportation/roads, building standards, community planning and financial implications. Please take time to read this information on how incorporating into the City of The Woodlands could affect you.

What is The Woodlands Township?

The Woodlands Township is a “Special Purpose” government district, authorized by state statute. The Township is unincorporated and its boundaries are within both Montgomery County and Harris County, the Extraterritorial Jurisdictions of the City of Houston and the City of Conroe, and primarily within the municipal utility boundaries of 11 Woodlands Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs).

Though the Township governance and administrative model has allowed it to offer municipal types of services, core service areas such as law enforcement and transportation infrastructure maintenance are delivered by county agencies. Water, wastewater, and stormwater management services are provided by multiple Municipal Utility Districts throughout

The Woodlands. While the Township has entered into contracted arrangements with the county agencies to provide enhanced law enforcement services, the Township’s authority to direct those services is limited.

In 2018, The Township Board of Directors initiated a study to consider the benefits and impacts of municipal incorporation. This draft study has been completed and the Township Board of Directors is considering placing incorporation on a future general election ballot for consideration by the voters of The Woodlands.

The following summary has been developed to show changes in governmental responsibility and services that would occur with municipal incorporation of The Woodlands.

  • Law Enforcement

    The Woodlands Township

    The Township is prohibited by state statute from directly hiring law enforcement personnel (or creating a police department). The Township chooses to provide law enforcement services through Township funded contracts with Montgomery County under the supervision on the County Sheriff and Harris County through the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office.

    City of The Woodlands

    The city would have local control of all law enforcement services. The city can establish its own central police department and provide services within the two county areas of The Woodlands, which would allow for a consistent policing philosophy throughout the community. An option would be to create a police department and continue to contract for some law enforcement services.

  • Drainage and Flood Mitigation

    The Woodlands Township

    The Township does not have authority over drainage and drainage planning in The Woodlands. This primary authority is with the two county governments and the Municipal Utility Districts.

    City of The Woodlands

    The city can establish and enforce drainage standards within the community and initiate projects for drainage improvements. If the city abolishes and absorbs the MUDs, the city gains broader authority over these matters.

  • Regional Participation Agreement (RPA)

    The Woodlands Township

    In 2007, The Woodlands Township entered into contractual Regional Participation Agreements (RPAs) with the Cities of Houston and Conroe, which provide that neither city will annex any part of The Township for 50 years. The RPAs were authorized by state statute and subsequently approved by The Woodlands voters who authorized the creation of the Township as it currently exists by approving the boundaries, approving an elected seven member Board of Directors and approving the implementation of an ad valorem property tax levy. Following the voter approval of creation of The Woodlands Township, by agreement, the Community Associations of The Woodlands were dissolved and all services and responsibilities transferred to the Township. The RPA agreements provide that at time of incorporation, the Cities of Houston and Conroe will release the property within The Woodlands Township boundaries from their respective ETJs, meaning that they could no longer annex The Woodlands.

    City of The Woodlands

    At Incorporation, the Regional Participation Agreements provide that property located within the ETJs of the City of Houston and Conroe and within The Woodlands Township boundaries, would be released from the ETJs of the two cities and become part of the boundaries of the new City of The Woodlands. All properties within the new City of The Woodlands would no longer be subject to annexation by the City of Houston or the City of Conroe.

  • Continuation of Township Services after Incorporation

    The Woodlands Township

    The current level of service provided by the Township is expected to continue following incorporation. The Township directly provides services such as, but not limited to, fire department, covenant administration, environmental services, garbage and recycling, neighborhood watch, parks and recreation, street lighting, transportation, among others.

    City of The Woodlands

    The current Township services will continue to be provided by the city following incorporation and the city will assume additional responsibilities as a General Law City.

  • Addressing Future Community Needs

    The Woodlands Township

    The Township is dependent on at least 15 other entities to provide transportation planning, streets and right-of-way management; law enforcement services; utility services, drainage / flood mitigation; and address community subsidence issues. Changing service needs in The Woodlands (whether funded by the Township or others) will require approval of the various government entities.

    City of The Woodlands

    A city government has the statutory authority to act on behalf of the community to directly provide and manage these community service needs.

  • Government Authority

    The Woodlands Township

    The Township is a special purpose government district with limited authority and can only establish and enforce rules on property it owns (Township parks, pathways, pools, facilities and recreation centers) in accordance with its enabling legislation.

    City of The Woodlands

    The city will have municipal powers and authority as provided to a General Law City and can initiate and enforce rules for community standards through establishment of city ordinances (examples – animal control, fireworks, noise violations, tree preservation restricting clear cutting, street parking, road right of way and utility corridor management authority, law enforcement, etc.) as defined by State Law. If the City were to change to Home Rule, its authority and ordinance-making authority would be broader and defined by its voter-approved City Charter.

  • Uniformity of Local Government Services

    The Woodlands Township

    Transportation, roadway maintenance, law enforcement, drainage, and development review within The Woodlands fall under the governmental authority of Montgomery County (Precincts 2, 3 and 4), Harris County (Precinct 4), the City of Houston ETJ, the City of Conroe ETJ and the 11 MUDs primarily operating within Township boundaries.

    City of The Woodlands

    The direct authority for transportation, roadway maintenance and law enforcement are assumed by the city government at incorporation. The city council can, but is not required to, take action to abolish the MUDs and assume operations as a municipal utility at any time, following incorporation. In addition, the new city is removed from the ETJs of the cities of Houston and Conroe, and the role of the two counties is diminished.

  • Formal Recognition as the Local Government Representing The Woodlands

    The Woodlands Township

    The Township is not officially recognized as the local government representing Woodlands residents by federal, state or regional planning organizations.

    City of The Woodlands

    The city would be the recognized as the local government representing the interest of Woodlands residents to all levels of government (federal, state, county, cities and regional planning organizations).

  • Authority in Regional Planning Matters / Community Standing

    The Woodlands Township

    With the exception of the Township’s public transit services, the Township has no standing in regional planning matters, local roadway transportation planning and other matters such as water and sewer rates, groundwater pumping, subsidence, flooding and stormwater management.

    City of The Woodlands

    The city would have standing in all of these matters, assuming the MUDs become part of city operations following incorporation. If the MUDs do not become part of city operations following incorporation, the city would still have standing in regional planning matters, local roadway transportation planning and other matters other than the water, sewer and related service provided by the MUDs.

  • Local Ordinance Making Authority

    The Woodlands Township

    The Township does not have the ability to create local laws affecting the broader community (ordinance making authority).

    City of The Woodlands

    A general law city would have the ability to create and enforce local laws within the Statutes of the State of Texas (ordinance making authority) to address matters of community wide concern, such as animal control, fireworks, noise, parking, clear cutting, etc.

Page last updated: 07 September 2021, 11:57