Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 05/27/2015  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon a presentation on Board committee appointments;
FISCAL IMPACT:
N/A
BACKGROUND:
Director Bass requested a discussion of Board Committee and Other Appointments in response to a recent newspaper article focused on the "multiple hats" worn by community leaders. The following information offers a brief review of the Township's Board Committees and Township appointments to other boards or councils.

Board Committees - The Township Board of Directors has a limited number of Board committees.  These committees are set up to review Township matters and then report back to the full Board for direction and action.  The Township has the following committees:
  • Ad Hoc Transportation Committee
  • Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee
  • Investment Committee
  • Audit Committee
 
Each of these committees has three Director members which are appointed annually through a Board directed process. The charge to each of these committees is established by the Board and the Committees only have authority to make recommendations to the full Board. These committees cannot direct staff action or expend Township funds. This can only be done with full Board approval. Although the committee may make a recommendation to the Board on certain issues, all policy, budget and operating decisions can only be made by the entire Township Board of Directors. 
 
When discussing committees, it may be important to clarify the roles of the committees. The Audit and Investment Committees are comprised based on legal requirements. The Township Board primarily functions as a committee-of-the-whole, whereby the entire Board reviews and studies issues prior to taking action. However, the Board from time to time may appoint working committees to study specific topics and to meet certain directives as defined by the Board through the committee charter. These committees have no approval authority or authority to implement projects or programs, only to research and recommend to the full Board. These were created for Board efficiency and are dissolved once the task is deemed complete or as determined appropriate by the Board. The Township’s two working committees of the Board are the Ad Hoc Transportation Committee and the Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee.
 
Convention and Visitors Bureau - The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), is a separate 501(c)(6) nonprofit corporation and the Board is elected in accordance with the CVB’s bylaws. The CVB is funded through sales and hotel occupancy tax that is collected by the Township, and because of this the Township has historically appointed three elected Township Directors and the Township President/GM. The Township’s appointees then select the remaining CVB Director positions, historically drawing on various private sector members of the tourism/business community within the Township who work diligently to stimulate hotel occupancy tax and sales tax dollars into the community.
 
Other Committees  - There are a number of committees that are required as part of The Woodlands Covenant Standards.
 
The Development Standards Committee (DSC), which is similar to a city’s planning and zoning commission, is appointed annually by the Township Board. Each year, residents are invited to apply for a position on the DSC; no Township Director or staff serves in this capacity.  
 
For those who are interested in civic involvement, there are a large number of opportunities through the Township and The Woodlands community at-large. In February of each year, elections are held for more than 100 volunteer positions to serve on one of the nine Residential Design Review Committees (RDRCs) or the eight Village Associations. The RDRCs provide the resident viewpoint that is essential to the evaluation and approval of home improvements. The Village Associations, which are fully independent 501(c)(4) civic organizations provide a wide variety of opportunities to represent their respective villages and provide an important grassroots voice to the Township on a variety of topics through their meetings and their reports at Township meetings. The Township values the village associations and calls on them when seeking representatives to serve on staff advisory councils. Unfortunately, over the past few years, we have seen a decline in volunteers to run for these RDRC and Village Association positions, as well as a decline in voter participation in these elections.
 
Other Elected Local Government Entities - Similar to a city, Woodlands residents are also able to serve on water (MUD) boards throughout the community. These are also elected positions, but are not tied in any way to the Township government structure.

The Woodlands Township Board also makes an appointment to The Woodlands Road Utility District and has the ability to nominate candidates and cast votes in the Montgomery Central Appraisal District and Harris County Appraisal District elections, which are also independent boards.
 
In order to provide effective representative government, the Township values involvement by residents. In addition to the civic involvement opportunities stated above, the Township also takes special care to promote civic engagement when undertaking major studies. The best example may be the 2011-2012 governance study in which the feedback gained from the community was the major factor in the Board’s decision on how to proceed.
 
RECOMMENDATION:
Board to determine action.

    

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