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THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP

Board of Directors Meeting

BOARD BUDGET WORKSHOP #3

August 5, 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 Wednesday, August 5, 2020, posted to begin at 8:30 a.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;

Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs 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 8:35 a.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 adopt the meeting agenda as presented.
  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;* 

No individuals provided public comment.
             
CONSENT AGENDA
             
5. 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: This item was considered following Agenda Item #8.
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to approve the Consent Agenda.
  Second by: Secretary Ann Snyder 
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 ratification of all actions taken by the Board at the July 30, 2020 meeting;
             
REGULAR AGENDA
             
6. Receive, consider and act upon the Third Amended Interlocal Cooperation Agreement by and between Montgomery County, Texas and The Woodlands Township, related to law enforcement services;

Note: This item was considered following the brief recess that was taken during Agenda Item #9.

President/General Manager Don Norrell provided a history of the law enforcement extensions and advised that the agreement before the Board for consideration is to extend the agreement to December 31, 2022 with the reinstatement of the incorporation transition period that was inadvertently left off of the previous version that was approved during the July 28, 2020 Montgomery County Commissioners Court.  Board discussion followed.
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to approve the Third Amended Interlocal Cooperation Agreement by and between Montgomery County, Texas and The Woodlands Township, related to law enforcement services, as approved to final form by the Township Attorney.
  Second by: Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs 
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
 
             
7. Receive, consider and accept a report regarding the 2020 no-new-revenue tax rate and voter-approval tax rate; 

Assistant General Manager of Finance Monique Sharp shared that, based on the certified tax rolls from the Tax Assessor, there is an increase in the taxable values from $20.8 Billion to $21.1 Billion, which is an increase of $352.5 Million.  This increase includes a revaluation of existing properties of about 0.6% increase and new properties have contributed about 1.1% for a total of 1.7% increase.  Montgomery County had the largest increase of $18.2 Billion and Harris County with an increase of just under $3 Billion.
  Motion by: Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs moved to receive and accept the 2020 tax rate worksheet prepared by the Montgomery County Tax Assessor’s Office.
  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 the 2021 Preliminary Budget for The Woodlands Township;

Assistant General Manager of Finance Monique Sharp shared that the tax rates certfied by the Tax Assessor include the current rate of $0.2240, the Effective Tax Rate of $0.2231 and the Rollback Tax Rate at $0.2303.  The components of the Current Tax include a Maintenance & Operations Rate of $0.2089 and the Debt Service Tax Rate of $0.0151 for a total Current Tax Rate of $0.2240. Mrs. Sharp shared that each penny of the tax rate is equal to about  $2.1 million in revenue.  For Property Tax Revenues, the 2020 forecast is $45.9 Million at the $0.2240 current rate.  If the current rate is maintained, the 2021 property tax revenue is forecasted at $46.5 Million for an increase of about $600,000. This would increase the Undesignated Fund Balance, with the change in the tax values, to $1.2 Million.  Mrs. Sharp reminded the Board that about $570,000 of that increase is due to CARES Act Funding, which would not be an ongoing revenue source, however, about $689,000 would be considered an ongoing revenue source. Mrs. Sharp then shared the Five-Year Plan Annual Undesignated Fund balances. Board discussion followed and the Board instructed staff to use the Effective Tax Rate of $0.2231 for the base budget.  
  Motion by: Chairman Gordy Bunch moved to approve an Effective Tax Rate of $0.2231 for the base budget, review the Budget Initiatives and then re-review the base budget during the budget week.
  Second by: Secretary Ann Snyder 
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 and consider Budget Initiatives related to the 2021 Preliminary Budget and Five-Year Plan;

Note: After an initial review and consideration of Budget Initiatives, the Board recessed the regular meeting at 10:27 a.m.  and reconvened the regular meeting at 10:45 a.m. The Board then considered Agenda Item #6 before returning to this agenda item for final consideration.

Assistant General Manager of Finance Monique Sharp provided an overview of the Budget Initiatives related to the 2021 Preliminary Budget and Five-Year Plan.  

The initiatives discussed during this Board Budget Workshop included:
  • Change from reserves to bonds for construction and capital costs - This initiative contemplated changing the methodology to convert to issuing bonds and then repurpose capital replacement reserves.  The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Emergency Planning - This initiative contemplated increasing the Sales Tax Reserve Fund goal from 5% to 10% per budget cycle to be used primarily to offset any revenue shortfalls from sales tax in the 2021 budget.  The Board approved $1.8 Million to the Sales Tax Reserve Fund. 
  • Assess opportunities to retire callable debt - This initiative contemplated either refinance or call the two unlimited tax bond issuances that become callable in 2021. The Board approved a refinancing initiative for the two unlimited tax bond issuances.
  • Information Technology: Reclass Records Specialist to Enterprise Application Analyst - This initiative contemplated reclassing a Records Specialist to an Enterprise Application Analyst.  This is not a reclass of FTEs but a reclass of a vacant position with no cost impact.  The Board approved this initiative.
  • Legal Services: Intern - This initiative contemplated adding an Intern to assist the Township Attorney.  This is an unpaid intern position.  The Board approved this initiative.
  • Parks & Recreation: Reclass part-time Boat House Aide to full-time Boat House Specialist - This initiative contemplated reclassing a part-time Boat House Aide to a full-time Boat House Specialist.  This position would be offset with program revenue. The Board approved this initiative.
  • Environmental Services: Mosquito Surveillance Staff addition - This initiative contemplated the addition of a Mosquito Surveillance staff.  This position is now being performed with overtime by current staff.  This position would offset the overtime costs. The Board approved this initiative.
  • WFD - Battalion Chief/Paramedic - Health and Safety - This initiative contemplated the addition of a Battalion Chief/Paramedic.  The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • WFD - Lieutenant - Logistics and Facility Coordinator - This initiative contemplated the addition of a Lieutenant - Logistics and Facility Coordinator.  The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • WFD - Fire Support Specialist - This initiative contemplated the addition of a Fire Support Specialist.  The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • WFD - Fire Fleet Technician - This initiative contemplated the addition of a Fire Fleet Technician.  The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Montgomery County Staff Support  - This initiative contemplated the addition of an Administrative Assistant for Captain Holifield.  The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Increased Patrol/Law Enforcement Services Staffing - This initiative contemplated the addition of increased patrol or Law Enforcement Services staffing.  The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Pool Aerators - This initiative provided an update on the pool aerator pilot and potentially adding additional aerators to other pools.  The Board approved this initiative at a funding level of $12,000 for three pools.
  • Additional Entrance Monument Signs -  This initiative contemplated the addition of neighborhood entrance markers at the southeastern corner of Old Egypt Lane and Research Forest and near Ken Lakes and Terramont.  The Board approved $300,000 for an entrance monument sign at Old Egypt Lane, inclusive of landscaping not to exceed $15,000.  
  • Pathway Crosswalk Connectors - This initiative contemplated the addition of crosswalks and pathway connectors at various intersections as requested by Township residents.  The Board approved this initiative.
  • Household Hazardous Waste Collection - This initiative contemplated providing household hazardous waste disposal service to Township residents as an additional contracted service. The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Holiday Dove Displays - This initiative contemplated the addition of holiday doves being installed at additional intersections throughout The Township.  This Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Streetscape Irrigation attachment to Lake Paloma Pump - This initiative contemplated the use of reclaimed water from Lake Paloma to irrigate the Creekside Forest/Gosling entrance and the Creekside Forest Roundabout. The Board approved this initiative.
  • Street Light Trimming - This initiative contemplated the tree and vegetation trimming surrounding the streetlight poles located on Townwide roads.  The Board did not approve this initiative and instead requested that staff contact Montgomery County for standard clearance trimming.
  • Additional Water Bikes for Riva Row/Lakes Edge Boat House - This initiative contemplated the addition of six water bikes, splitting the new bikes between Riva Row and Lakes Edge Boat House. The Board approved this initiative.
  • Bonny Branch Playground - This initiative contemplated the installation of a playground at Bonny Branch Park. The Board approved this initiative.
  • Creekside Park Village Association Request - This initiative contemplated a request from Creekside Park Village Assocation for a) dreding and additional maintenance related to Lake Paloma, b) placement of additional trash cans along Creekside Green and Creekside Forest, c) placement of additional pet waste bag stations along Creekside Green and Creekside Forest and d) placement of window film on North window of the workout room at the Rec Center at Rob Fleming . The Board approved $15,000 for a depth study for Lake Paloma. The Board also approved the placement of window film on the North window of the workout room at The Rec Center at Rob Fleming.
  • WFD Capital Projects Planning - This initiative contemplates the potential construction of Station 5 at a new site and the remodeling of Stations 3, 4 and the Emergency Training Center as suggested in the comprehensive construction plan being developed by the architectural consultant. The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Additional Westside Fire Company - This initiative contemplates a coverage enhancement in Battalion 102 which covers the western portions of The Woodlands. The Board did not approve this initiative.
  • Residential Survey - This initiative contemplates the implementation of a 2021 residential survey.  The Board approved this initiative.
  • Appropriation of funds for COVID-19 response - This initiative contemplates the appropriation of funds from the Undesignated Funds Balance for COVID-19 response, which may be reimbursable through CARES Act and FEMA funding. The Board approved this initiative.
Discussion on the following Budget Initiatives was deferred to the Board Budget Workshop on August 6, 2020:
  • Reduction or elimination of Alpha & Omega Mounted Patrol
  • Mobile Surveillance and Deterrence Tower
  • Kuykendahl Road Median Reforestation (Village of Creekside)
  • Events Admission Tax Uses
             
10. Receive, consider and act upon approval of proposed amendments to the 2021 Preliminary Budget and Five-Year Plan;

Note: The Board did not discuss this item.
             
11. Receive, consider and act upon the proposed 2020 debt service tax rate and maintenance and operations tax rate;

Assistant General Manager of Finance Monique Sharp provided a breakdown of the proposed 2020 Tax Rate.  She advised that the 2020 debt service component of the total proposed 2020 Tax Rate is $0.0151 per $100 of taxable valuation.  The maintenance and operations tax rate is $0.2080 per $100 of taxable valuation. Together, those components add up to the $0.2231 effective tax rate.
Receive, consider and act upon the proposed 2020 debt service tax rate and maintenance and operations tax rate;
Receive, consider and act upon the proposed 2020 debt service tax rate and maintenance and operations tax rate;
  Motion by: Chairman Gordy Bunch moved to approve a proposed 2020 Property Tax Rate of $0.0151 per $100 of taxable valuation for debt service.
  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
 
  Motion by: Chairman Gordy Bunch moved to approve a proposed 2020 Property Tax Rate of $0.2080 per $100 of taxable valuation for maintenance and operations.
  Second by: Secretary Ann Snyder 
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
 
             
12. Receive, consider and act upon the date and time for a public hearing on the proposed 2020 property tax rate, if necessary;

Note: The Board did not discuss this item.  No action was taken at this time.
             
CLOSED MEETING (if applicable)
             
13. 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.
             
14. Reconvene in public session;

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

There were no items to be placed on next month's agenda.
             
16. Board announcements; and

There were no Board announcements.
             
17. Adjournment.
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:38 a.m.
  Second by: Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs 
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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