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THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP

Board of Directors Meeting

BOARD BUDGET WORKSHOP #4

August 6, 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 6, 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 Jason J. Nelson 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 8:34 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 Jason J. Nelson; Director Bob Milner; 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: Director Bob Milner moved to adopt the meeting agenda.
  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
 
             
4. Public comment;* 

The following individuals provided public comment:
  • Steve Leakey - Alden Bridge; Shared his thoughts on the high property tax collection rate; use of Township reserves in the budget process; and thoughts on the Alpha & Omega contract.
  • Ana Cosio - Shared her support for Alpha & Omega.
  • Tom Chumbley - Cochran's Crossing; Expressed his concerns regarding the Alpha & Omega contract and Constitutional rights.
  • Nelda Luce Blair - Shared her support of the Alpha & Omega contract.
  • Mark Unland - Cochran's Crossing; Shared his thoughts on possibly looking at alternative options to replace Alpha & Omega.
             
REGULAR AGENDA
             
5. Receive, consider and accept a report regarding the 2020 no-new-revenue tax rate and voter-approval tax rate; 

Note: This action was approved during the August 5, 2020 Budget Workshop; therefore, no action was taken on this agenda item.
             
6. Receive and consider Budget Initiatives related to the 2021 Preliminary Budget and Five-Year Plan;

Assistant General Manager of Finance Monique Sharp shared that, during the previous Budget Workshops, the Board approved a majority of the Budget Initiatives, discussed assumptions and the 5 Year Plan and 5 Year Plan expense increase.  The Board then took up discussion of the remaining Budget Initiatives:
  • Reduction or elimination of Alpha & Omega Mounted Patrol - This initiative contemplated the reduction or elimination of the Alpha & Omega Mounted Patrol.  The Board approved leaving the Alpha & Omega contract funding in the base budget and revisiting the issue at the time of the contract renewal. The Board also requested that staff review alternatives to the Alpha & Omega contract and bring those alternatives back to the Board prior to the expiration of the Alpha & Omega contract. 
  • Mobile Surveillance and Deterrence Tower - This initiative contemplated the use of a Mobile Surveillance Deterrence Tower by law enforcement as a crime deterrent. This item was deferred to a later date.
After review of the final Budget Initiatives, the Board approved using funds available as a result of Montgomery County not providing raises to their law enforcement staff to fund the annual Township staff and The Woodlands Fire Department pay increases, which had originally been deferred in the proposed budget to April 2021, back to the standard January 1 implementation date.

The Board then discussed a request by The Woodlands Fire Department for $100,000 in capital improvements to the Emergency Training Center for expanding water/sewer utilities at their maintenance facility.  The Board approved this initiative.  

The Board also directed staff to use the Undesignated Fund Balances in 2020 for any shortfalls in the 2020 Budget.
             
7. Receive, consider and act upon approval of proposed amendments to the 2021 Preliminary Budget and Five-Year Plan;

Note No action was taken on this agenda item.

This agenda item was deferred to the September 17, 2020 Special Board of Directors meeting.
             
8. Receive, consider and act upon the proposed 2020 debt service tax rate and maintenance and operations tax rate;

Note:  No action was taken on this agenda item.

This agenda item was approved during the August 5, 2020 Budget Workshop.
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;
             
9. Receive, consider and act upon the date and time for a public hearing on the proposed 2020 property tax rate, if necessary;

Note:  No action was taken on this agenda item.

Because the Board approved a proposed tax rate that was less than the effective tax rate (or rollback rate), a Public Hearing would not be necessary.
             
CLOSED MEETING (if applicable)
             
10. 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.
             
11. Reconvene in public session;

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

Director Bruce Rieser asked that the fire station report be added as a future agenda item.
             
13. Board announcements; and

Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs shared ongoing work being done on finding a COVID-19 vaccine and noted that volunteers are needed for vaccine trials.
             
14. Adjournment.
  Motion by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:58 a.m.
  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
 
_____________________________________
Ann Snyder
Secretary, Board of Directors

    

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