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THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP

Board of Directors Meeting

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

August 25, 2021

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 August 25, 2021, posted to begin at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was held in the Board Chambers at the office of The Woodlands Township, 2801 Technology Forest Boulevard, The Woodlands, Texas, within the boundaries of The Woodlands Township.

             
STANDARD ITEMS
             
   1. Invocation / Pledge of Allegiance;

Father Tom Rafferty, Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church of The Woodlands, provided the invocation. Chairman Gordy Bunch then 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 6:08 p.m. and declared that notice of this meeting was posted 72 hours in advance inside the boundaries of The Woodlands Township at the office building located at 2801 Technology Forest Boulevard, The Woodlands, Texas, and posted online at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov. The roll was then called of the duly elected members with two members being absent.
Present: Chairman Gordy Bunch; Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser; Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs; Director Bob Milner; Director Ann Snyder
Absent: Treasurer John Anthony Brown; Director Jason J. Nelson
Staff Present: Jeff Jones, Monique Sharp, John Powers, Karen Dempsey, Robin Cross, Nick Wolda, Todd Stephens, Palmer Buck
             
   3. Receive, consider and act upon adoption of the meeting agenda;
             
  Motion by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser moved to adopt the meeting agenda.
  Second by: Director Bob Milner 

Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
   4. Recognize public officials;

There were no public officials in attendance.
             
   5. Public comment;

The following individuals provided public comment:
  • Claude Hunter - Township resident; Expressed his concerns regarding changes to the Township governance upon incorporation.
  • Kent Maggert - 45-year Township resident; Expressed concerns regarding tax rates and franchise fees related to incorporation.
  • Simon Boddison - Director of Soccer Operations for Dynamo Dash Youth Soccer Club; Provided an update on recent and upcoming tournaments and programs.
             
   6. Receive, consider and act upon reports from Village Association representatives;

The following Village Association (VA) representatives presented a report:
  • Alden Bridge VA - President Mary Ann Braid thanked Claude Hunter for his many years of service to the Alden Bridge VA. She shared that the recent pool party was a success and that plans are underway for a fall festival in November. She provided information regarding the next Alden Bridge VA meeting in September, as well as information and concerns discussed at the August Alden Bridge VA meeting.
  • Cochran's Crossing VA - President J.C. Harville shared that the Cochran's Crossing VA has been meeting in person for the last two months. He reported on their participation in the 4th of July parade and that their recent pool party was a success. He reported that plans are underway for a fall festival in October and that they are working on their teacher grants. He provided information regarding their next meeting in September.
             
  Motion by: Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs moved to receive and file the reports.
  Second by: Director Ann Snyder 




Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
REGULAR AGENDA
             
   7. Receive, consider and act upon emergency authorities related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and authorizing the President/General Manager to act in connection therewith;

Note: This agenda item was deferred.
             
   8. Receive, consider and act upon Incorporation Planning Study matters (as requested by Chairman Bunch); 

Karen Dempsey, Township Secretary/Assistant to the President, reminded residents that an incorporation election has been placed on the November 2 ballot, along with the Board of Directors election. She provided information on where residents can find the incorporation ballot language on the Township website. She then shared information regarding the Township's incorporation website, as well as anticipated updates to the website. Board discussion followed.

Nick Wolda, Director of Community Relations, shared that the Township's incorporation website is the best location to find answers to incorporation questions. He also shared information about a one-page comparison document. Karen Dempsey illustrated where the document can be found on the Township's incorporation website.

Board discussion followed.

Monique Sharp, Assistant General Manager of Finance and Administration, provided brief information on financial projections used to develop the maximum initial tax rate that is included in the ballot language. She noted that the tax rate is based on the projected needs for year 4, following incorporation.
             
  Motion by: Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs moved to accept the information and report.
  Second by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser 


Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
   9. Receive, consider and act upon a community update from the American Heart Association (as requested by Director Milner);

Lharissa Jacobs, Vice President of Health Strategy for the American Heart Association, provided an update on the American Heart Association activities in Montgomery County. She shared that the association is working with community partners to bring heart health awareness to the community and provide fresh, healthy meals to residents. She reported that they are also working with the Montgomery County Hospital District to advocate for a state-wide policy regarding telephone-assisted CPR. She then shared the association's 2024 Impact Goal and their plans to achieve their goals.

Mercedes Milstead, Development Director for the American Heart Association, asked community leaders to assist in their campaign to raise heart health awareness. She then shared information about their upcoming awareness events.

Board discussion followed.
             
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to accept the report.
  Second by: Director Ann Snyder 


Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
   10. Receive, consider and act upon the financial report;

Monique Sharp, Assistant General Manager of Finance and Administration, presented the financial report for the seven months ended July 31, 2021. Ms. Sharp shared that the year-to-date budget for general fund revenue was $82.3 million, with actual revenues of $83.8 million, for a favorable variance of about $1.4 million. Ms. Sharp reported that the Township is experiencing a $158,000 favorable variance in sales tax revenue and $725,000 favorable variance in property tax revenue due to conservative projections for property tax collections with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also reported a favorable variance in program revenues, primarily related to the Parks and Recreation Department.

Ms. Sharp stated that year-to-date operating expenditures were $56.9 million, with actual expenditures of $52.3 million, for a favorable variance of $4.6 million. She shared information regarding the departments related to the favorable variances, which include General Government of $1 million, Parks and Recreation of $1.3 million, and the Fire Department at $655,000. She shared that some of the variances are due to timing differences between when expenses are budgeted and actually incurred, but that about $3 million will remain permanently favorable through the end of the fiscal year.

Ms. Sharp then shared that Sales & Use Tax collections through July 2021 totaled $36.6 million, representing $4 million, or 12.5%, higher than the same period of the previous year and almost $2 million, or 5.7%, over budget. She shared that almost all industry codes have been trending upward since the beginning of the year.

Ms. Sharp stated that the current year-to-date Hotel Occupancy Tax Revenue collections total $3 million. She reported that, as expected, the hote industry has been slower to bounce back than sales tax. She reported that even though hotel tax revenues are below budget, there are sufficient funds to pay all debt service on revenue bonds and fund the operating expenses of Visit The Woodlands.

Ms. Sharp reported that property tax collections in 2020 were just under 100%, and just over 100% for 2021. The overage is due to interest, penalties and fees on delinquent accounts.
             
  Motion by: Director Bob Milner moved to accept the financial report for the seven months ended July 31, 2021.
  Second by: Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs 


Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
   11. Receive, consider and act upon adoption of the 2022 Consolidated Budget for The Woodlands Township; 

Monique Sharp, Assistant General Manager of Finance and Administration, shared that the budget was reviewed during the 5:00 p.m. Public Hearing earlier in the evening and during recent budget workshops. Ms. Sharp provided a chart showing 2022 projected revenues at $132.8 million and how those funds will be distributed to fund operating and capital expenditures, debt service, and the operating and capital replacement reserves. The remaining undesignated balance of $884,000 will be left as undesignated or transferred to the capital reserve due to pending projects not yet approved by the Board.
             
  Motion by: Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs moved to adopt the 2022 Consolidated Budget as summarized on the attached document, including revenues totaling $132,802,429, and expenditures totaling $132,335,901.
  Second by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser 


Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
   12. Receive, consider, adopt and set by Order the 2021 Ad Valorem Tax Rate for Debt Service;

Note
: Agenda Item No. 13 was adopted in conjunction with this Agenda Item. This item required a record vote. Each Director was called upon individually for their vote on the 2021 Ad Valorem Tax Rate for Debt Service and the Ad Valorem Tax Rate for Maintenance and Operations.
             
  Motion by: Chairman Gordy Bunch moved that the property tax rate be increased by the adoption of a tax rate of $0.2231 per $100 of taxable value, which is effectively a 2.86 percent increase in the tax rate, and to adopt Order No. 019-21 in conjunction therewith.
  Second by: Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs 



Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
   13. Receive, consider, adopt and set by Order the 2021 Ad Valorem Tax Rate for Maintenance and Operations;

Note: This agenda item was adopted in conjunction with Agenda Item No. 12.
             
   14. Receive, consider, and act upon the purchase of two replacement fire engines;

Note:
No presentation was provided.
             
  Motion by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser moved to approve Siddons Martin Emergency Group HGAC Contract No. FS12-19 Prepayment Proposal to purchase two Pierce Custom Velocity PUC Pumpers in the amount of $1,668,975.51.
  Second by: Director Ann Snyder 



Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
             
CLOSED MEETING (if applicable)
             
   15. Recessed to Executive Session at 7:15 p.m. 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 informed the Board that it would be necessary to recess to executive session.
             
   16. Reconvened in public session at 8:19 p.m.;

Chairman Bunch shared that it would not be necessary to take action on matters discussed in executive session.
             
   17. Receive, consider and act upon the ExxonMobil Tax Abatement Agreement;

Note:
This agenda item was deferred.
             
   18. Receive, consider and act upon a Performance Review of The Township's President/General Manager;

Note: This agenda item was deferred.
             
DISCUSS FUTURE AGENDA /ANNOUNCEMENTS
             
   19. Consideration of items to be placed on the agenda for next month's meeting;

Director Ann Snyder requested an agenda item regarding e-bikes and law enforcement.
             
   20. Board announcements; and

Chairman Gordy Bunch announced that the Township will hold an incorporation public forum on September 23, 2021, at the Waterway Marriott. The time of the event is to be determined. He reported that the incorporation consultants will be present and the event will be live streamed.
             
   21. Adjournment.
             
  Motion by: Director Ann Snyder moved to adjourn the Board meeting at 8:21 p.m.
  Second by: Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser 

Passed: Chairman Gordy Bunch YES
Vice Chairman Bruce Rieser YES
Secretary Shelley Sekula-Gibbs YES
Treasurer John Anthony Brown ABSENT
Director Bob Milner YES
Director Jason J. Nelson ABSENT
Director Ann Snyder YES
 
_____________________________________
Shelley Sekula-Gibbs
Secretary, Board of Directors

    

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