TownshipFuture

August 26, 2021

The Woodlands, Texas

Today TownshipFuture took a vote of confidence in The Woodlands Township by formally taking  a stance against incorporation of the Township. TownshipFuture urges all voters to vote AGAINST incorporating the Township at  the November 2, 2021, election.

After much study and deliberation, the TownshipFuture Steering Committee, made up of residents of The Woodlands with extensive backgrounds in community and public service in The Woodlands, decided after months of gathering and analyzing facts and figures, that the best course of action for The Woodlands Township in 2021 and the foreseeable future is to remain a Special Purpose District and not to incorporate because at this time, the benefits of incorporation simply do not out weigh the costs of incorporation.

TownshipFuture does not oppose the concept of incorporation. Instead, we believe that one day incorporation of The Woodlands may be appropriate, but that day is not in 2021.    

“Other than their health and safety during this time, there is no greater issue than the incorporation issue facing The Woodlands residents today”, says Ted Stanley, current Chairman of the TownshipFuture Steering Committee.  “We, along with other local groups, individual residents and two (2) Township Board Members urged the Township Board to postpone placing this issue on the ballot in 2021 to another time when residents weren’t bombarded with other matters—like a pandemic. Instead, the Board chose to add it to the ballot of a low turnout election.  And now, what we’re seeing is a lot of misinformation being circulated”, adds Stanley.    

Stanley continues, “If we make a bad call this November by voting for incorporation, there’s no turning  back. Once incorporated, The Woodlands cannot be easily unincorporated. But if we vote against incorporating now, we will have more time to address discrepancies in the numbers and assess the overall pitfalls and benefits in time for another election.”

“There may be a time down the road where incorporation makes sense, but for now with the questionable tax rate and the uncertainty  of what being a city would mean, now is not the right time”, states Stanley.

TownshipFuture has several core principles; one of which is to educate and advocate on issues important to the residents of The Woodlands.  We continue to gather information and analysis with the goal of providing concise, understandable information about incorporation for residents of The Woodlands.

A vote against incorporation now, is a vote for The Woodlands. Please check out our website at www.townshipfuture.org and sign up for our newsletter


August 13, 2021: Statement by TownshipFuture Steering Committee on Placing Incorporation Vote on Ballot

Today The Woodlands Township Board of Directors voted (5 to 2) to place the very important issue of incorporating The Woodlands on the November 2021 ballot.
TownshipFuture urged the Board to take a more prudent approach to such an important issue by waiting to a more appropriate time for the residents. Because of the pandemic and with such uncertainty in our near future, TownshipFuture Steering Committee feels that now is not the time to have this irreversible, costly decision forced upon the residents of The Woodlands. Only Directors Dr. Ann Snyder and John Anthony Brown had the courage to vote no on the issue, showing support of the concern for The Woodlands residents.
There is no urgent need and no external factors that would necessitate this move at this time. However, the Directors of the Board of The Woodlands neglected to heed the request by many groups and individuals calling to table this topic.
By setting this election at this time, the directors have forced the residents of The Woodlands into making a decision in the midst of the resurgence of the COVID pandemic in our area. At a time when we should all be concerned about our families’ health, we must turn our attention to our future governance—which could have easily waited one (or more) more year(s). The Board, in their reckless management to place this on the ballot, has forced us all to weigh one important decision over another, when it was not necessary.
One guiding principle of TownshipFuture is to advocate and education residents on important issues that affect the lives and wellbeing of the residents of The Woodlands. Our path forward in light of the Directors’ decision is to bring to you as much information as we can. We plan to do this in a fair and just manner…giving you facts that you can use to build an informed opinion regarding the pros and cons of incorporation and how this will change your life here in The Woodlands. In order for you to vote on this very important issue, it will require that you be as informed as you can be, because there is no turning back.
We have 37 years (or more) to consider a change in our governance structure. Therefore, at this time a NO vote is better than an uninformed vote. A NO vote in November 2021 can be changed to a yes vote at any time until 2057.
A YES vote in November 2021 remains permanent—even if it is the wrong vote at this time. It may be a mistake for which there is no corrective action. More to come. Please continue to follow TownshipFuture.


April 19, 2021: READ The Houston Chronicle’s Article About Our Local Water Wars: “New Goals Would Allow For Ground To Sink in The Woodlands, More Water Pumped from Montgomery County


April 7, 2021: WATCH NOW: Recording of Our April 6, 2021 ZOOM Panel Discussion “Subsidence: Your Wallet, House and Water” is Now Available

Thank you to everyone who attended our ZOOM panel discussion last night. We had some minor technical glitches at the beginning of our event, thank you for your patience. We were grateful to host panelists Mike Turco from Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, Ron Kelling from San Jacinto River Authority and Jim Stinson from Woodlands Water Agency. All three gave excellent presentations about the impacts that increased groundwater pumping would have on our community in The Woodlands. At the end of the presentations TownshipFuture Steering Committee member, Bob Leilich spoke about TownshipFuture’s petition to Groundwater Management Area 14 (GMA 14), which you can read and sign HERE.


March 25, 2021: ANNOUNCING UPCOMING WEBINAR: Your Wallet, House and Water: TownshipFuture to host SJRA, HGSD and WWA for ZOOM panel discussion Tuesday, April 6 at 7:00-8:00pm

The Woodlands, TX — March 25, 2021    TownshipFuture announces it will host a one-hour webinar titled Your Wallet, House and Water on Tuesday, April 6 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM to answer three questions facing every homeowner in The Woodlands:

  • Are you concerned about the cost of water and the potential for more flooding?
  • How are the two related?
  • Can you do something about it?

The answer to all three questions is subsidence, an issue that could very soon affect every wallet and many homes and businesses in The Woodlands.

Attendees will hear from experts from the San Jacinto River Authority (Ron Kelling), the Houston-Galveston Subsidence District (Mike Turco), and the Woodlands Water Agency (Jim Stinson) explain the connection and how it could affect homeowners. TownshipFuture is concerned about upcoming proposals that could lead to increased subsidence, causing residents to pay more for water and suffer increased risk of physical damage to homes and increased risk of flooding in flood-prone areas of The Woodlands. Bob Leilich, President of MUD 1 and TownshipFuture Steering Committee member, will discuss TownshipFuture’s petition to the Lonestar Ground Water Conservation District (LGWCD) opposing their plan to increase local groundwater pumping.

The webinar is free and all are invited. To register, go to https://forms.gle/GYcG1Q1uekCGbrCz6. You will be sent an email with instructions how to sign into the webinar.

ABOUT TOWNSHIP FUTURE
TownshipFuture is a Texas general purpose Political Action Committee (PAC). We aim to bring together residents of The Woodlands to celebrate our Township’s vibrancy & vision through civic engagement. Our mission is to educate & advocate on key local issues, and to elect community-minded candidates running for non- partisan office. Join us to keep our hometown one of the best places in the country to live, work, pray & play! For more information, visit www.townshipfuture.org.

CONTACT

Bob Leilich
TownshipFuture Steering Committee Member
bobleilich@att.net


August 17, 2020: Our Comments to The Woodlands Township Board Regarding Incorporation on the November 2020 Ballot

From 9am until almost 3pm today, the Township Board met, mostly in Executive Session.

1. They scheduled a meeting on September 10th to adopt the budget and set the tax rate.
2. They drafted a proposed contract for law enforcement with Montgomery County (in Executive session).
3. They tabled any discussion on a November 3rd incorporation ballot.

Three TownshipFuture members spoke against placing incorporation on the ballot during a pandemic. Read comments made by Amy Lecocq, Rob Johnson and Walter Cooke on behalf of TownshipFuture during public comment period:

Comments by Amy Lecocq
The long-term economic impacts of the pandemic are unknown and need to be assessed fully and shared with the public before the costs of incorporation can be accurately calculated.

Comments by Rob Johnson
In March 2020, the Board concluded that due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus impact on our community, it was not appropriate to include incorporation on the November ballot. The Board was correct and should keep that promise.

Comments by Walter Cooke
“…do not place incorporation on the ballot in November in an attempt to get out of the situation caused by the Commissioners Court’s rejection of the Township’s proposed extension of the Interlocal Agreement with the County which provides our enhanced policing.”


July 14, 2020: Interested in running for Township Board? Fill out our Interest Indicator and let’s talk!

During our first Zoom meeting, TownshipFuture President, Amy Lecocq announced that TownshipFuture will vet and endorse candidates in the upcoming November Township Director elections and that we are interested in talking with anyone who is contemplating a candidacy and who shares the values embodied in TownshipFuture’s three guiding principles.  If you are interested in running for township, please fill out our Interest Indicator here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc4TvIsLpcJCekllDUt7COkROVhEcbnj3ZkPeKYLyue9lFTng/viewform


July 7, 2020: TownshipFuture Coverage in The Villager Newspaper

A new political action committee in The Woodlands — The Township Future PAC — hosted a Zoom video conference on July 1 to help educate residents who may be interested in running for the board. Amy Lecocq, spokesperson for the PAC, said more than 60 people participated in the event, which was designed to recruit candidates as well as to introduce politically active locals to the township’s elections process and explain how campaigns work.

‘Of course we don’t know how many candidates will file. During the last election, two out of three of the directors were elected with less than the majority of voters,” Lecocq said. “Since there is no runoff, it would be better to have no more than two candidates to assure that the next four directors are elected by a majority. We are looking for one strong candidate per position.'”

Candidate filing period nears; 4 Woodlands board seats up for election by Jeff Forward. Read more here: https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/Candidate-filing-period-nears-4-Woodlands-board-15392747.php


July 2, 2020: TownshipFuture Will Vet and Support Township Director Candidates for November Elections

The Woodlands, Texas—July 2, 2020  TownshipFuture PAC held its first ZOOM meeting to discuss TownshipFuture and the upcoming Township elections. More than 60 people registered for the digital meeting.

TownshipFuture President, Amy Lecocq announced that TownshipFuture will vet and endorse candidates in the upcoming November Township Director elections and that the PAC is interested in talking with anyone who is contemplating a candidacy and who shares the values embodied in TownshipFuture’s three guiding principles.

The PAC’s three guiding principles are: 1) lowest taxes possible to maintain services; 2) limited and nimble government structure; 3) respect for the Township’s history and character of caring and coming together for ALL residents. Selecting and supporting strong, reasonable, balanced, independent-thinking, community-minded candidates with only the best interests of The Woodlands in mind will be a primary goal of the PAC in 2020. “We want to work with any PAC, organization or individual who shares these principles,” said Lecocq.

Each of the five Steering Committee members were introduced and spoke about various aspects of the PAC that was formed earlier this year to ensure The Woodlands remains one of the best places to live in the United States. The Steering Committee members are: Amy Lecocq, Walter Cooke, Kira Becker, Rob Johnson, and Bob Lieilich.

Among the Steering Committee there are 3 Hometown Heroes, 2 Moms, 3 Dads, 2 Grandpas, 1 engineer, 1 communications professional and 3 lawyers. Together, they have 0ver 100 years of residency in The Woodlands, ranging from 7 years to 30 years, and they hail from 4 villages, including the only Harris County village of Creekside Park.

Walter Cooke, who previously ran for The Woodlands Township Board, shared tips on running for office and identified many areas where TownshipFuture could assist its endorsed candidates.

Bob Lieilich, a recent Campaign Treasurer, shared some and details on running for Township office. The filing for Township Board candidates starts July 18, 2020 and the last day of filing is August 17, 2020.

In addition to vetting and supporting candidates, Lecocq explained that TownshipFuture’s mission includes educating residents on key issues affecting The Woodlands and advocating on those issues.

For example, Rob Johnson cited the recent unlawful resignation and appointment of a new Director and Johnson noted that TownshipFuture called out the Board for its lack of transparency, public input, due process and fundamental fairness. TownshipFuture also drafted and proposed a policy to avoid these shortcomings in the future.

Kira Becker highlighted the group’s messaging on its website and social media, including the group’s support for the recent Proclamation proposed by Ann Snyder reminding us of The Woodlands welcoming and inclusive history and character of caring for all residents.

On the call, Lecocq stressed that TownshipFuture’s Charter limits its participation to only non-partisan elections. These non-partisan races are fundamentally local and are intended to be focused more on community concerns rather than partisan politics. Candidates in these elections are not primaried by the parties and are not identified on the ballot as a member of a party. TownshipFuture may participate in other non-partisan elections such as the Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs), the school districts that enroll Woodlands students, or Water Conservation Districts like LSWCD as needs arise, but will not participate in any partisan elections.

On Friday, Lecocq summarized her comments regarding the PAC’s intentions, “Make no mistake, we are approaching a crossroads in our community and November’s elections are critical to defining The Woodlands’ future. Our goal is to organize and bring together the best of our community’s energies and skills. We know a decidedly community-oriented, non-partisan PAC is a new approach, and we accept this challenge enthusiastically. We cannot postpone taking these steps for our Township’s Future and we intend to win.”

Attendees and members of the community are encouraged to contact TownshipFuture at info@TownshipFuture.org or contact a Steering Committee member if they are interested in participating either as a candidate, a volunteer or donor. To donate or learn more about TownshipFuture, residents are invited to explore the group’s mission & advocacy work at www.townshipfuture.org.

ABOUT TOWNSHIP FUTURE
TownshipFuture is a Texas general purpose Political Action Committee (PAC). We aim to bring together residents of The Woodlands to celebrate our Township’s vibrancy & vision through civic engagement. Our mission is to educate & advocate on key local issues, and to elect community-minded candidates running for non- partisan office. Join us to keep our hometown one of the best places in the country to live, work, pray & play! For more information, visit www.townshipfuture.org.

Read article on WoodlandsOnline here: https://www.woodlandsonline.com/npps/story.cfm?nppage=67140


June 23, 2020: TownshipFuture Announces July 1st ZOOM Meet-Up: TownshipFuture and Township Elections

The Woodlands, Texas—June 22, 2020  TownshipFuture announces it will hold a ZOOM meet-up to discuss TownshipFuture’s mission and upcoming Township elections at 7:00-7:50pm on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.  This online-only event is intended for individuals in The Woodlands community who wish to learn more about TownshipFuture PAC, and are interested in running for The Woodlands Township Board of Directors in November or learning about how to support strong community-minded candidates for the Board.

TownshipFuture believes The Woodlands community has much to be proud of, and the only thing more important than our distinguished past is our future. A central goal of TownshipFuture PAC’s mission is to bring together residents in The Woodlands to support candidates running in strictly non-partisan races that impact The Woodlands. The group is interested in meeting anyone in the community interested in running for The Woodlands Township Board this November, as they want to support the community’s strongest candidates.

TownshipFuture President, Amy Lecocq extended an invitation to residents of The Woodlands on Monday, “We would like to invite all residents who agree with TownshipFuture’s fundamental beliefs to attend and to learn more about our organization and how we can assist those candidates who best represent those beliefs as they seek one of the four open Township Board positions this November.  If you believe our community should strive to keep our taxes low while maintaining our high-quality services and that our elected officials should embody our community’s spirit of giving, engagement and respect for ALL residents– we look forward to ‘seeing’ you July 1st, even if we are unable at this time to meet face-to-face.” 

All invitees will attend by video-conferencing. Anyone wishing to participate in this community discussion is invited to RSVP by completing this registration form https://forms.gle/TnKia9He8MHLiWYn8 before July 1, 2020 at 10:00am. Meeting login details will be emailed to registrants prior to the meeting.

Residents with questions are encouraged to contact TownshipFuture directly via email at info@townshipfuture.org, or explore the group’s mission & advocacy work at www.townshipfuture.org.

Click HERE to download a PDF of our Press Release

ABOUT TOWNSHIP FUTURE

TownshipFuture is a Texas general purpose Political Action Committee (PAC). We aim to bring together residents of The Woodlands to celebrate our Township’s vibrancy & vision through civic engagement. Our mission is to educate & advocate on key local issues, and to elect community-minded candidates running for non-partisan office. Join us to keep our hometown one of the best places in the country to live, work, pray & play! For more information, visit www.townshipfuture.org. MEDIA

CONTACT
Amy Lecocq
President, TownshipFuture Steering Committee
832 244-9585
amylecocq@gmail.com


May 27, 2020: Township Board’s Unlawful Appointment was Made to Raise Taxes

We continue to follow the actions of The Woodlands Township Board as it moves into budget reviews. Its always an important time to watch, as there could be direct implications for our pocketbooks and the services the Township provides.

At last week’s meeting, leadership of The Woodlands Township Board showed its hand—
The rushed appointment of Jason Nelson was all about raising our property taxes.

Vice Chair Rieser reminded us on video last week that when he and Chairman Bunch tried to raise taxes last year, they lacked the 5th vote to do so – and they wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again this year.

  • The board chose a reliable vote so your property taxes can be raised. The Chairman and Vice Chairman rushed to get a seventh Board member who they could trust to vote as instructed. Someone who had filed and then withdrawn his application to run in last November’s election at their request. Someone who has no budgeting or financial background to assist the Board with the revenue shortfalls the Township will experience. Someone with no medical or statistical skills to assist with understanding the challenges the Township faces with the coronavirus. Someone who has no legal experience to help the Board understand the complexities of the law. Someone with no service on government, for-profit or nonprofits boards, other than perhaps with his church in Rose Hill, Tomball.
  • The Chairman did not share resident nominations with the Board for consideration so your property taxes can be raised. Perhaps one of the other residents who, according to Chairman Bunch, submitted nominations to him had budgeting, financial, legal, medical, statistical, governmental or Board experience. But we will never know. Why? Because Chairman Bunch did not forward those submissions to the Board for consideration or comment. We only heard about it a month after Director Nelson’s flawed appointment. That’s what we call “lack of transparency”.
  • Laws were ignored so your property taxes can be raised. In rushing to get Mr. Nelson appointed before the public could have any meaningful input, Chairman and Vice Chair did not follow the law. There is no question they broke the law – that’s why they had to have Director Boniface submit a signed, written letter, why they had to accept it and why they had to “ratify” every vote from four meetings, with Director Nelson abstaining.
  • Resident input was blocked so your property taxes can be raised. In order to rush the appointment through in six days, the Chairman dictated the process. According to Township Staff, it is the “Board’s discretion” to determine the process. But the emails between Chairman Bunch and Don Norrell show that Chairman Bunch, not the Board, established the process that cut out resident nominations, nominee presentations and any resident input by noticing the nominees only hours before the meeting. A Chairman is not a dictator or even a mayor with independent powers. He does not have unilateral authority to establish or change substantive policies. Those decisions belong to the Board.

And now at least we know why Board leadership rushed, why laws were ignored and why the Chair alone set a process that eliminated resident input and transparency – to raise our property taxes. We got a preview of the 2021 Township budget last week – we continue to watch carefully, and we encourage you to do the same!

TONIGHT:

The Woodlands Township Board Meeting
6:00pm, ONLINE

http://www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/778/Meeting-Videos

Residents may comment by calling one of the numbers listed HERE and by waiting to be selected. 

You will hear a recording tell you that you will be muted for the entire meeting, but please do not hang up. You will be unmuted in order to provide your comment. Also, if you get a busy signal, please try another line. 

Please to free to email us with any questions or comments you may have on this or others.


May 20, 2020: Our Proposed Policy on The Woodlands Township Vacancies & Appointments

As promised, we have drafted the TownshipFuture Proposed Policy of The Woodlands Township for filling vacancies for Directors who resign or who decline to serve.  We have forwarded the Proposal to each of the Township Board of Directors and the President/General Manager.   

The Township Board will discuss the parameters of a policy at its Regular Board meeting at 6:00pm Thursday evening (TOMORROW, May 21).  Residents may comment by calling one of the numbers listed and by waiting to be selected.  https://www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/991/Agendas-Minutes-and-More  You will hear a recording tell you that you will be muted for the entire meeting, but please do not hang up.  You will be unmuted in order to provide your comment.  Also, if you get a busy signal, please try another line. 

Please to fee to email us with any questions or comments you may have on this or other issues: info@townshipfuture.org.


May 19, 2020: Township Vacancy: A Review of Lessons Learned & Preparing Next Steps

The Township vacancy/appointment fiasco is over for now.  This week TownshipFuture will publish a Director Vacancy and Appointment Policy which will encourage resident input and Board transparency.

In the meantime, we have learned three things about the leadership of the Board:

  1. Chairman Bunch and Vice Chair Rieser are NOT “Resident Advocates”
    1. Chairman Bunch set up a procedure to cut out resident input – and doubled down on it when he had a 2nd chance to include resident input
    1. Vice Chair Rieser told The Villager it didn’t matter who came forward to fill the vacancy or what the residents’ thoughts were – nothing would influence his decision
  2. In a 4-2 vote, Chairman Bunch and Directors Rieser, Sekula-Gibbs and Milner chose a person with no relevant experience, rather than a person with experience and skills who could add value to the Board.
    1. During this unique time, someone with medical, financial, legal skills or prior Board experience, of whom we have many in this community, would have made the smarter choice.
    1. When pressed, Rieser explained he preferred someone young and Christian.
  3. Chairman Bunch and Vice Chair Rieser put politics above all else
    1. Vice Chair Rieser nominated the person who served as a temporary “place-holder” in Position No. 7 (in between Tom Chumbley and Director Milner’s filings) in a political shell game to form a slate in the November 2019 Township election.
    1. Chairman Bunch explained to The Villager that he did not vote for his nominee, former Director Peggy Hausman, but instead for the previous “place-holder” because he agreed to run in the November election.

TownshipFuture believes in the wisdom of a non-partisan Township Board and will work to bring us all together as residents of The Woodlands. We will work with ALL residents in our community who value public input and transparency on our Township Board, but we will call out instances when those values are not being observed.  COVID-19 has shown us the strength and big-heartedness of our neighbors in The Woodlands. We are fortunate to have inherited a place that is nationally recognized as one of the best places to live. Join us in making sure our future is just as bright as our past at TownshipFuture.org and on social media. We invite your comments and your support in bringing residents and businesses together to celebrate our Township’s vibrancy and vision through civic engagement.


May 13, 2020: Township Board Resignation & Appointment Process

Read our letter to The Woodlands Township Board regarding the actions proposed to be taken by the Woodlands Township Board of Directors (“the Board”) at the special meeting to be held on May 14, 2020.

The posted agenda states that the purpose of the meeting is to address issues associated with the resignation of Director Brian Boniface and the Board’s subsequent appointment of Mr. Jason Nelson to replace Director Boniface. Specifically, the agenda notes that Director Boniface had not in fact tendered a resignation letter to the Board prior to the Board’s action in selecting his replacement. The agenda states that the Board is “therefore being asked to now accept the letter and ratify its previous actions for its April 16, 2020, April 22, 2020, April 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020 meetings.”