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THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP

Board of Directors Meeting

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

August 20, 2020

MINUTES

THE STATE OF TEXAS   §

COUNTIES OF HARRIS & MONTGOMERY   §


             The Board of Directors of The Woodlands Township met in regular session, open to the public, on Thursday, August 20, 2020, posted to begin at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was held via video conference within the boundaries of The Woodlands Township, The Woodlands, Texas.
             
STANDARD ITEMS
             
1. Invocation / Pledge of Allegiance;

Dr. Bruce Webb, Senior Pastor at The Woodlands First Baptist Church, provided the invocation. Chairman Gordy Bunch led the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag and the Texas State flag.
             
2. Call meeting to order;

Chairman Gordy Bunch called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. and declared that notice of this meeting was posted 72 hours in advance inside the boundaries of The Woodlands Township at Town Hall located at 2801 Technology Forest Blvd., The Woodlands, Texas, and posted online at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov, and is being held via video conference in accordance with the declaration made by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, which temporarily suspends certain requirements within the Texas Open Meetings Act to help reduce the potential transmission of the COVID-19 public health pandemic emergency. The roll was then called of the duly elected members with all members present at the time roll was called.
Present: Chairman Gordy Bunch; Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser; Secretary Ann Snyder; Treasurer John Anthony Brown; Director Bob Milner; Director Jason J. Nelson; Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs
Staff Present: Don Norrell, Nick Wolda, Monique Sharp, John Powers, Karen Dempsey, Palmer Buck, Susan Welbes, Robin Cross, Todd Stephens
             
3. Receive, consider and act upon adoption of the meeting agenda;
  Motion by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser moved to accept the meeting agenda.
  Second by: Director Bob Milner 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
             
4. Public comment;* 

The following individuals provided public comment:
  • Steve Leakey - Alden Bridge; Expressed concerns regarding the amount of time the Board was in Executive Session during the August 17, 2020 Board of Directors meeting.
  • Ted Stanley - College Park; Provided an update from the College Park Village Association and his perspective regarding Agenda Item 9.
  • Remis Cazunis; Requested that the Township try and retain the temporary road overlays and culverts currently being used at the Bear Branch project for use by Township residents as part of the walk and bike path.
  • Michael Cousins - Windward Cove; Provided his concern about the noise at North Shore Park.
  • Ann Perry - Capstone; Reported an issue with political sign stealing in Capstone.  She also reported that the neighborhood mailbox that was damaged in July has still not been repaired.
  • Allison Winter - 59 Capstone; Reported on issue with sign stealing in Capstone.
             
PROCLAMATIONS
             
5. Receive, consider and act upon proclamations;
             
a. Receive, consider and act upon a proclamation recognizing September 11 as Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance;

Note This agenda item was read after Agenda item 5c.

Director John Anthony Brown read the proclamation recognizing September 11 as Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
             
b. Receive, consider and act upon a proclamation for First Responders Day (September 11);

Note This agenda item was read after Agenda item 5a.

Director Bob Milner read the proclamation recognizing First Responders Day (September 11).
             
c. Receive, consider and act upon a proclamation honoring the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment which guarantees all American women the right to vote (as requested by Director Snyder and Director Sekula-Gibbs);

Note: This agenda item was read before Agenda items 5a and 5b.

Director Ann Snyder and Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs read the proclamation honoring the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment which guarantees all American women the right to vote.
             
CONSENT AGENDA
             
6. Receive, consider and act upon the Consent Agenda;
(This agenda consists of non-controversial or "housekeeping" items required by law. One motion with modifications, if applicable, approves for action, all items contained within the Consent Agenda. Items may be moved from the Consent Agenda to the Regular Agenda by any Board Member making such request prior to a motion and vote.)


Note: Just before the consent agenda was discussed, Director John Anthony Brown announced that Township resident Claude Hunter called during public comment but experienced technical difficulties while trying to provide public comment.
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to approve the consent agenda as presented.
  Second by: Director Jason J. Nelson 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
             
a. Receive, consider and act upon approval of the minutes of the July 16, 2020 Regular Board Meeting, the July 22, 2020 Regular Board Meeting, and the July 30, 2020 Special Board Meeting for the Board of Directors of The Woodlands Township;
             
b. Receive, consider and act upon Administrative Reports for Community Services;
             
c. Receive, consider and act upon Administrative Reports for Law Enforcement and Community Policing;
             
d. Receive, consider and act upon Administrative Reports for Transportation (Park and Ride and Trolley System);
             
e. Receive, consider and act upon Administrative Reports for The Woodlands Fire Department; 
             
f. Receive, consider and act upon an award of bid for Town Center Christmas Tree and Doves Installation, Maintenance, Removal and Storage (C-2020-0133);
             
g. Receive, consider and act upon the purchase of temperature screening kiosks;
             
h. Receive, consider and act upon an award of bid for new computer purchases;
             
i. Receive, consider and act upon the conveyance of Restricted Open Space Reserve "A" out of The Woodlands Creekside Park West Section 37, also known as Shumard Oak Park;
             
REGULAR AGENDA
             
7. Receive, consider and act upon emergency authorities related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, and authorizing the President/General Manager to act in connection therewith;

Dr. Charles Sims, Infectious Disease Medical Director at St. Luke's Hospital provided a brief report on the Coronavirus infection rate, mortality rate, the status of local hospitals, as well as various treatments and methods of prevention. Dr. Sims focused on Montgomery County cases but also referenced Harris County and State of Texas impacts. 

Chairman Gordy Bunch presented new data sets on the daily COVID-19 infection rates, testing, mortality projections and an update on hospital resources based on SETRAC reports. 

Director Ann Snyder, non-profit liaison, provided an update on recent local non-profit services and assistance needs related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  She also noted mental health resources available to residents.
  Motion by: Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs moved to accept the updates.
  Second by: Director Bob Milner 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
             
8. Receive, consider and act upon continuing the Budget Task Force for 2020 and 2021 budget years (as requested by Chairman Bunch and Director Milner);

Chairman Bunch advised that, in light of the assistance that the Budget Task Force was able to provide during the 2020 budget process, it was the Board's desire to continue the Budget Task Force for future budget processes.  Board discussion followed.
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to continue the Budget Task Force for the 2020 budget and to add an agenda item in December for the appointment of Budget Task Force members.
  Second by: Director Jason J. Nelson 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
             
9. Receive, consider and act upon discussion of deferred requirements within Village Association Service Agreements due to COVID-19 constraints (as requested by Chairman Bunch);

Note No action was taken on this item.

Chairman Bunch shared that some Township village associations have reported difficulty meeting some of their commitments as outlined in the annual village association service agreements and have asked for some of those requirements to be waived or amended. Township Secretary/Assistant to the President Karen Dempsey provided further detail regarding the village associations struggling to complete the community spirit events due to COVID-19 restrictions.  Board discussion followed.  This agenda item was deferred to October when the annual service agreements are considered and to allow staff to bring back alternative options for the village associations to fulfill their contract requirements.
             
10. Receive, consider and act upon a request to change the park hours at Northshore Park (as requested by Director Rieser);

Director of Parks and Recreation Dr. Chris Nunes discussed three major concerns raised by Township residents who live adjacent to the Northshore Park, which include lights illuminating the volleyball courts and the request that they be shut off by 9:00 p.m., the addition of more frequent visits by Park Rangers, and the confirmation of the park's closed hours all due to the increased noise at the park.  Dr. Nunes reviewed Township Park Order 019-09, which establishes the park hours and rules, a current description of Northshore Park and its amenities, as well as a timeline of park improvements dating back to 1984, and offered potential solutions for consideration. Board discussion followed.
  Motion by: Treasurer John Anthony Brown moved to direct staff to continue to manage Northshore Park as a "hot spot" by the Ranger unit(s) with an emphasis between the hours of 9 to 11 p.m., to ensure compliance with Township Orders related to sound/noise.
  Second by: Director Jason J. Nelson 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
             
11. Receive, consider and act upon Board procedures, policies and protocols (as requested by Chairman Bunch and Director Snyder);

Township Secretary/Assistant to the President Karen Dempsey shared that she received requests from Directors to discuss Board procedure regarding establishing an agenda item and proclamation; retaining confidentiality of closed session discussion; and parliamentary procedure and motions.  Ms. Dempsey provided the current Board procedure on these requested topics.  She also provided potential policy statements on establishing an agenda item.  Board discussion followed.

Regarding parliamentary procedure and how motions are handled, Ms. Dempsey advised that the Board typically follows parliamentary protocol and Roberts Rules of Order, however, no formal adoption of these rules has been established.  She then suggested that, with additional direction from the Board, additional research could be conducted to provide procedures being used by other governmental entities. Board discussion followed. The Board deferred this portion of the requested review in order for staff to do additional research regarding clarifying a procedure on the motion to table, motion to defer, as well as clarifying when there are multiple motions or amendments on the floor, and any other parliamentary procedures that the Board is less specific on so that the Board can approve a set of rules for Board meetings.

Regarding retaining confidentiality of executive session discussions, Ms. Dempsey discussed strengthening current language already in the Board policy regarding closed session discussions.  Ms. Dempsey provided a proposed "section c" to be added to the current policy.  Board discussion followed.  Directors requested that, in addition to the proposed section c, staff should prepare a "section d", which would identify what type of items can be discussed during closed session. Board discussion followed.
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to add a policy statement that agenda item and proclamation additions are to be made during a public Board of Directors meeting.  If the addition is requested outside of a public meeting, the agenda item/proclamation addition would require the Chairman's approval.  If the Chairman does not approve the agenda item/proclamation addition, the agenda item must then be requested during a public Board of Directors meeting.
  Second by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to add Section C and Section D to the Township's Board Operations Policies on Executive Session discussions to reinforce that Executive Sessions will remain confidential and must be held in accordance with State Law.
  Second by: Director Jason J. Nelson 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
             
CLOSED MEETING (if applicable)
             
12. Recess to Executive Session to discuss matters relating to real property pursuant to §551.072, Texas Government Code; deliberation of economic development negotiations pursuant to §551.087, Texas Government Code; discuss personnel matters pursuant to §551.074, Texas Government Code; discuss IT network or critical infrastructure security pursuant to §551.089, Texas Government Code; and to consult with The Woodlands Township’s attorney pursuant to §551.071, Texas Government Code;

Chairman Bunch shared that it would not be necessary to recess to executive session.
             
13. Reconvene in public session;

It was not necessary to reconvene in public session.
             
DISCUSS FUTURE AGENDA /ANNOUNCEMENTS
             
14. Consideration of items to be placed on the agenda for next month's meeting;

Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs requested that staff follow-up with the United States Postal Service regarding the repair or replacement of the damaged Capstone mail receptacle as discussed during public comment. President/General Manager confirmed that this could be done through staff follow-up and did not require placement on an future agenda.

Chairman Bunch asked that, as part of their already scheduled presentation at the Wednesday, August 26 Regular Board of Directors meeting, the San Jacinto River Authority provide an update on the Bear Branch project improvements discussed earlier during public comment and to include the possibly maintaining those improvements as an addition to the walk/bike trail; for a technical update on the routing of the wastewater pipe, as well as an interim report on the Waste Water Treatment Plant #1 study.
             
15. Board announcements; and

Chairman Bunch shared that there are two tropical storms that could impact the Township area on Tuesday, August 25 or Wednesday, August 26 and suggested that residents prepare for potential impact to the area.
             
16. Adjournment.
  Motion by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:46 p.m.
  Second by: Treasurer John Anthony Brown 
Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Ann Snyder YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown YES
YES
Director Jason J. Nelson YES
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
 
_____________________________________
Ann Snyder
Secretary, Board of Directors

    

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