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All About The Woodlands


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All About The Woodlands

  1. 1. 2201 Lake Woodlands Drive • The Woodlands, Texas • 77380 281-210-3800 •
  2. 2. 2 message from The boarD Welcome to The Woodlands Township! This booklet will assist constituents in The Woodlands, Texas, with theservices delivered and give an understanding of The Woodlands Township. Located about 30 miles north of downtown Houston, Texas, The Woodlands officially began in 1974. For manyyears, various homeowner associations and special purpose districts provided services for residents and businesses. TheWoodlands Township is now the governmental service provider, providing enhanced law enforcement services, fireprotection, environmental services, parks and recreation, economic development and much more. About The WoodlandsTownship will discuss these areas and more.Background The Woodlands Township, now the official governing body of The Woodlands, was created with the merger ofthe Community Associations of The Woodlands and Town Center Improvement District (TCID). The WoodlandsTownship collects an ad valorem property tax as well as sales and use tax and hotel occupancy tax. In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a change in governmental structure that allowed residents to ultimatelydetermine their future and release The Woodlands from annexation possibilities by the cities of Houston and Conroe.The Woodlands Township entered into Regional Participation Agreements (RPAs) with both cities that allow residentsof The Woodlands to decide their future governance. The former area of the TCID, which is the Town Center area, expanded from 1.8 square miles to an area ofapproximately 44 square miles representing the entire area of The Woodlands. This plan for the expansion of the TCIDboundaries, authorizing a property tax levy and changing the makeup of the Board of Directors to a fully elected at-large Board, was approved by voters in November, 2007. The name of the Town Center Improvement District was alsochanged to The Woodlands Township at that time. The intent of the 2007 legislation was to consolidate quasi-governmental operations for The Woodlands. In orderto accomplish this goal, TCID and the Community Associations of The Woodlands agreed upon a plan to consolidateoperations and responsibilities into the new Township government. In 2008, The Woodlands Township and theCommunity Associations of The Woodlands entered into a Transition Agreement, which provided for a consolidation ofservice delivery systems by 2012. This was changed through an amendment to the agreement accelerating the proposedconsolidation date to January, 2010. The Woodlands Township assumed all responsibilities and services previouslyprovided by the Community Associations on January 1, 2010, and the Community Associations were dissolved. The first property tax levy for The Woodlands Township was levied in August, 2009, for the budget year 2010 at32.8 cents per $100 of valuation. This new property tax levy replaced the Community Association assessments. The2010 levy was set at 32.74 cents per $100 of valuation for budget year 2011. The Woodlands Township Board of Directors also implemented a Strategic Plan in June of 2009. This StrategicPlan provided the base for the 2010 budget plan and served as a guide for the five-year business plan. As The Woodlands Township looks forward over the next five years, there are a number of factors that the fully-elected residential Board will need to consider in order to stabilize the tax rate and continue to address the communityservice and capital facility needs. • Continuation of existing services – For residents and businesses, the objective is to continue to provide high level services at a reasonable cost. Many of the service cost categories will increase each year as a result of inflationary impacts and community growth.
  3. 3. 3 message from The boarD• Community growth – The Township will incur additional costs each year to fund service in new growth areas. These fixed and variable costs will be for roadway and entry maintenance, garbage collection, police protection, park and pathway maintenance and covenant enforcement.• Inflationary increases – Many of the cost categories will need to be adjusted each year due to inflationary cost increases. These cost increases relate to contract adjustments, supplies, maintenance services and labor costs.• Revenue base – One of the most challenging aspects of financial management is the estimation of revenue streams. Even though The Woodlands Township continues to have a fairly strong economy, some of the revenue growth numbers have declined. The three major sources of revenue are property tax, sales tax and hotel occupancy tax, all of which have declined since the initial five-year plan was developed in late 2009 (for the 2010 budget year). One way of offsetting the impacts of fluctuating sales tax and room tax revenues is to establish adequate reserves that help level out the declines in revenue sources. Without reserves, the only alternative is to cut back on programs or defer capital project expense.• Expectations – The Board will continually be faced with community expectations for additional or enhanced services such as increased law enforcement, capital project additions such as sports field additions or neighborhood improvement such as entry sign lighting and pathway marking.• Future changes – What service cost presently incurred by the primary developer of The Woodlands (The Woodlands Development Company) will be shifted to the The Woodlands Township (or no longer provided) when development is complete.• Potential changes in government structure – As the Board considers long-range planning for the period 2012- 2015, what additional service and capital costs will be required to be funded by the Township if a change in the government structure occurs in 2014 or later?• Fiscal planning – The Township continues to develop and maintain appropriate operating, capital replacement and economic development reserves.These are some of the many issues being considered as The Woodlands Township prepares for the future. Bruce Tough Lloyd Matthews Claude Hunter Ed Robb Chairman Vice Chairman secretary Treasurer Nelda Luce Blair Tom Campbell Peggy Hausman Don Norrell Director Director Director President/general manager
  4. 4. 4 Vision & missionvisioN The Woodlands, our dynamic hometown withina natural forest, is known for its balance between manand nature. We are a thriving business communityand a premier destination for visitors — a place wheregenerations live, work, learn and play.MissioN We fulfill The Woodlands vision by: • Protecting the well-being and safety of our residents, visitors and businesses. • Achieving the highest standards in service delivery. • Partnering with others to sustain the vitality of our region. • Communicating with our constituents and partners. • Attracting and retaining a talented and innovative staff. • Serving as the community’s political voice. • Powering economic growth through community investment. • Promoting continued vitality of neighborhoods and community areas. • Maintaining transparent governance. • Serving as financial stewards of the community’s resources. • Evolving a government structure to meet our goals. • Promoting sound environmental policy. Rob Fleming Park
  5. 5. 5 2011 service Areas & initiatives LaW enforCemenT & seCuriTy The Woodlands Township contracts witha number of agencies for law enforcement andsecurity services. Law enforcement services inMontgomery County are provided througha contract with the Montgomery CountySheriff’s Office (MCSO) and in Harris Countythrough independent contracts with HarrisCounty Precinct #4 Constables. Non-lawenforcement mounted patrols are provided inthe Town Center through an agreement withAlpha & Omega Mounted Patrol (A&O).Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office The contract for services with the MCSOprovides for 85 total personnel assigneddirectly to The Woodlands District #6. TheWoodlands Township pays for 80 of these Montgomery County sheriff’s Deputiespersonnel through a contract and the Sheriff’s Office provides five deputies through county funding. The following personnel are assigned to District #6 - The Woodlands in 2010: one captain, one lieutenant, eightpatrol sergeants, one traffic sergeant, five corporals, 62 deputies, one detective, two jailers and one secretary. TheWoodlands pays for one detective but has access to many resources within the detective division of MCSO. Threeadditional staff will be added in 2011. These officers provide community policing services in seven residential zones and in one tourism-oriented zonelocated in Town Center. Each of these zones have full-time deputies assigned to provide 24/7 coverage within theestablished community policing zone areas. In addition to contracted community policing and traffic division deputies, the Sheriff’s Office provides many otherservices through a county tax levy, including communications (dispatch) division, detective operations, administrativesupport, special services, SWAT Team, training, crime scene investigators (CSI) and an auto theft task force. The policy of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is to provide each deputy with a fully equipped patrolvehicle. The “life” of a patrol vehicle is approximately four years. For budget year 2011, the Township is projecting thepurchase of 21 patrol vehicles and one traffic division motorcycle. The current estimated cost of a fully-equipped patrolvehicle is approximately $45,000. A patrol vehicle is assigned directly to a deputy, and the vehicle is allowed to be takenhome by the deputy when off duty, increasing the police visibility in residential areas.Harris County Law Enforcement Township law enforcement services in the Village of Creekside Park are provided through independent contractswith Harris County Deputy Constables – Precinct #4. In 2011, one full-time deputy position will be provided through acontract with Harris County Constable’s Office – Precinct #4, along with 30 additional weekly hours of patrol throughindependent contract with Harris County Deputy Constables – Precinct #4. As of August, 2010, there are currently2,341 residents in the Village of Creekside Park. This personnel arrangement is temporary and additional officers will beadded as growth occurs.
  6. 6. 6LaW enforCemenT & seCuriTyAlpha & omega Mounted Patrol The Township provides a non-law enforcement element of service in the TownCenter called Alpha & Omega Mounted Patrol. Through their pro-active diligence,car alarms, lost cars, unsecured vehicles, vehicle lockouts and other security challengesare attended to on a daily basis. Alpha & Omega Mounted Patrol is an importantcomponent of the tourism-oriented policing philosophy in the Town Center.Throughout the year, mounted troopers provide customer service, act as the eyesand ears of the Town Center and assist with security issues, notifying security or lawenforcement when appropriate. The high visibility, customer-friendly Alpha & OmegaMounted Patrol is a unique (branded) presence in The Woodlands commercial areas. The Alpha & Omega Mounted Patrols are primarily assigned to the Town Centerarea and are also used at the Highway 242 / I-45 commercial area. Effective in 2011, theAlpha & Omega Mounted Patrol will be realigned within these areas and funding saved fromthis realignment ($309,000) will be shifted to law enforcement funding to provide directedservices as needed throughout the community.Neighborhood services When The Woodlands Township promotes a “police-community partnership,” they mean it. Through theTownship, relationships are cultivated and fostered with public safety, residents and businesses. For more than 25 years,The Woodlands Watch, a neighborhood watch program facilitated through The Woodlands Township, has broughtcrime prevention awareness to the community. Additionally, staff members (Village Liaisons) promote partnerships withthe village associations and attend monthly meetings to share information from The Woodlands Township. Part of theTownship’s mission is communicating with constituents and partners. Through The WoodlandsAlert program, residentscan receive timely and accurate information. Registration can be completed on the Township Web site. The Woodlands Township also produces award-winning National Night Out programs that are designed to giveresidents an opportunity to meet and learn about local law enforcement and public safety personnel, as well as promotethe national theme to give neighborhood crime and drugs a going-away party. In addition, Watch Talk Wednesday is amonthly program held by The Woodlands Township that is designed to inform Woodlands residents about safety andcrime prevention practices and resources. FivE-yEAR PLAN DiRECTioN • Continue existing services. • Fund additional law enforcement in 2011, 2013 and 2015 of the five-year plan based on growth (in addition to current personnel). • Fund 21 law enforcement vehicles in 2011 / fund equal amount in each year of five-year plan / four-year life. • Ramp up to full-time service in Creekside Park / first full-time Harris County Deputy Constable added in 2011. • Realign service areas for Alpha & Omega troopers / reduce overall hours.
  7. 7. 7 2011 service Areas & initiatives The WooDLanDs fire DeParTmenT The Woodlands Fire Department (WFD) employs 135 personnel to provide fire protection and first responder emergency medical services to The Woodlands community. The WFD operates from seven strategically located fire stations throughout The Woodlands (one temporary). There are two new fire stations that will start construction later this year; these stations will primarily serve the villages of Creekside Park, Panther Creek and Indian Springs. Six additional full-time positions will be added in 2011 and 15 full-time positions are proposed in 2012. The Woodlands Fire Department currently operates as a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization. The Board of Directors of The Woodlands Fire Department is appointed by The Woodlands Township. Per the requirements of current legislation, The Woodlands Township cannot directly employ firefighters until January 1, 2012. Over the past couple of years, anincreased level of investment in staffing, facilities and equipment hasallowed the WFD to improve its Insurance Services Organization(ISO) rating from a 3 to a 2. This change in the ISO rating isimportant because it is used by insurance companies to determineratings for fire insurance premiums. The improvement in the ISOrating has resulted in reduced residential and commercial propertyinsurance rates and is important to prospective business clientsconsidering relocation to The Woodlands. The Woodlands Fire Department provides fire dispatch servicesfor all Montgomery County fire agencies with the exception of theCity of Conroe. The WFD is paid a contract amount of $220,000(by the participating fire agencies) for this service in 2010. Over the next five years, a number of new and replacement fireengines will be purchased by the WFD. Additional fire engines willbe required for the new stations, and the WFD will also replaceequipment per established replacement criteria which takes intoaccount maintenance costs, reliability of the vehicles and mandatorysafety needs of firefighters. • Fire engines are pulled off the front line at the end of a 10-year cycle. They remain in reserve for three years. • Ladder trucks are pulled off the front line in a 12-year cycle. They are placed in reserve for three years. • Staff vehicles are pulled off the front line in an eight-year cycle. They are placed in reserve for three years. The typical cost of replacing a pumper truck is approximately$500,000 and the replacement cost of a ladder truck is $1 million. Emergency Training Center
  8. 8. 8The WooDLanDs fire DeParTmenT sTaTionsCentral station station 29951 Grogan’s Mill Road 9303 Gosling RoadThe Woodlands, Texas The Woodlands, Texas77380 77381station 3 station 41522 Sawdust Road 7900 Bay Branch DriveThe Woodlands, Texas The Woodlands, Texas77380 77382station 5 station 610100 Branch Crossing Drive 1100 Windsor Lakes Blvd.The Woodlands, Texas The Woodlands, Texas77382 77384station 7* station 8*26722 Kuykendahl 11800 Gosling RoadThe Woodlands, Texas The Woodlands, Texas77375 77381*Scheduled to open *Scheduled to openin 2012. Summer 2011. Please see page 28 for The Woodlands Emergency Training Center information. FivE-yEAR PLAN DiRECTioN • Construction of fire stations #7 and #8 to serve Indian Springs, Panther Creek and Creekside Park. • Continue existing services. • Add new positions in 2011 and 2012 / new stations. • Issue bonds in 2012 / Rebuild Central Station and purchase two fire ladder trucks. • Evaluate remodel of Station #2 in 2013.
  9. 9. 9 2011 service Areas & initiatives Parks & oPen sPaCe reserVes The Woodlands has 119 developed parks.Seventy-six of these parks have play areas withplay equipment. There are also two major sportscomplexes: Bear Branch Sportsfields and AldenBridge Sports Park. The community has 185miles of pathway that connect neighborhoodsto parks, schools, churches and village shoppingcenters. The Woodlands has more than 3,600 acres ofprotected open space, three lakes and numerousamenity ponds. The park areas are maintainedby The Woodlands Township with a numberof service contracts with various companies.The vast majority of park, open space and pondmaintenance labor is provided through contractedservices. Tupelo Park The age of the Township parks ranges frommore than 30 years old to those that were built in 2010. New parks and pathways in areas encumbered with TheWoodlands Association (TWA) Covenants are provided through a Recreational Facility Funding Agreement with TheWoodlands Land Development Company (TWLDC). Per the agreement, The Woodlands Township is required to fund 50 percent of the capital cost of developing new parks and pathways in these areas. Any new park and pathway projects that are not part of the Recreational Facility Funding Agreement are funded by the Township at 100 percent. Waterway Maintenance The Woodlands Waterway® maintenance operation includes The Waterway, Riva Row Park, Town Green Park, The Fountains at Waterway Square and the associated tree lights and site amenities located in the Town Center area. Upkeep of the Waterway consists of landscape and hardscape maintenance, pedestrian lighting, bulkhead maintenance, trash and litter removal, nuisance pest control and water quality management. The Waterway attracts thousands of visitors each year and is a tremendous asset for The Woodlands Township. Maintenance for the Waterway is provided through contracted services, and high maintenance standards are critical for the continued attraction of visitors and residents. The Waterway presents numerous opportunities for special events, economic development, programming and public gatherings. The Woodlands Waterway®
  10. 10. 10 Parks & oPen sPaCe reserVesRecreation Center operations / Recreational Programming The Township operates a recreation center at Bear Branch Park. This facility was constructed in 1992 and is usedfor a number of programming activities. The staff at this facility also provides the recreational programming at variousvenues community-wide. The cost of operating the recreational facility and providing recreational programming is offset by revenuesgenerated from the programs and from athletic field rentals.Aquatics The Township operates 13 swimming pools located throughout The Woodlands. Resident visits to the pools totalabout 170,000 for the season. Approximately 50 percent of the total cost of operating the 13 community swimmingpools is funded through user fees. Rob Fleming Aquatic Center FivE-yEAR PLAN DiRECTioN • Continue existing services. • Add funding to support maintenance of new parks, pathways and amenities being developed. • Projected park build-out in 2015 / 2016. • Add appropriate staff to accommodate growth in amenities. • Fund new parks and pathways in accordance with Recreational Facility Funding Agreement. • Consider funding for new parks/amenities not included in the Recreational Facility Funding Agreement (such as future sports complexes). • Fund pathway extensions and connectors in Town Center.
  11. 11. 11 2011 service Areas & initiatives CommuniTy mainTenanCeCovenants The Woodlands Township is the successor entityto the Community Associations and providescovenant administration for the propertiesencumbered with The WoodlandsCommunity Association (WCA),The Woodlands Association (TWA)and The Woodlands CommercialOwners Association (WCOA)covenants. The Township assumedthis responsibility on January 1,2010, as part of the TransitionAgreement. This program has32.5 full-time equivalent (FTE)staff assigned to monitor and enforcecovenant standards, and supportnine village Residential Design ReviewCommittees (RDRCs) and the DevelopmentStandards Committee (DSC). Most of the residential and commercial properties inThe Woodlands are encumbered with deed Rob Fleming Parkrestrictions called protective covenants.These protective covenants provide the standards for property maintenance and also prescribe the acceptable standardsfor physical changes made to properties in The Woodlands. The effective enforcement of the covenant standards isextremely important to the maintenance of property values in The Woodlands. Approximately 33,000 residential and commercial properties within the boundaries of the Township have WCA,TWA, or WCOA covenants. These covenant standards are administered by The Woodlands Township. Some propertiesmay also have additional covenants or deed restrictions; these property standards are maintained by overlappingproperty owners associations. The number of covenant properties will continue to grow in The Woodlands with the development of the Villagesof Sterling Ridge and Creekside Park. This growth will require the addition of covenant personnel to provide service toan increased number of covenant properties. Some older parts of the community are experiencing problems with maintenance standards. Covenant enforcementis difficult in some of these situations because of limited resources of residents or issues created by absentee landlords.To address this concern, the WCA and TWA created a community revitalization program in 2008 and this programhas been carried forward and funded by The Woodlands Township. The Township budgeted $100,000 in 2010 toresolve some of the covenant enforcement issues by working with the residents and partnering with community groupsto resolve outstanding violations. Some of this funding allows the Township, through the DSC, to fund quickerenforcement actions and file liens for recovery of expended funds.
  12. 12. 12CommuniTy mainTenanCe streetscape Maintenance Community maintenance operations are very extensive and consist of maintenance of entryways, roadway medians, irrigation system maintenance, open space reserves, pond and lake maintenance, street lighting, forestry and tree removal programs, reforestation, directional signage, graffiti removal and maintenance of jumbo cul-de-sacs. The general services provided in the area consist of the following services provided in residential and commercial areas: • Roadside mowing 18 times per year • Trash removal from roadsides 104 times per year • Maintaining 789 entry medians and intersection medians • Maintaining 299 jumbo cul-de-sacs • Maintaining 232 neighborhood and village entry way signs • Providing directional signage • Managing more than 3,600 acres of open space reserves • Maintaining 38 ponds, Lake Woodlands and Lake Paloma • Removing hazardous trees from parks, pathways and open space reserves Most of the community maintenance tasks are provided primarilythrough contract and secondarily through staff services. The communityprovides for the following major maintenance activities through contracts: • Streetscape / entryway maintenance • Turf and irrigation maintenance • Tree removal • Fleet maintenance • Garbage and litter removal • Lake and pond water management • Nuisance pest controlEnvironmental services / Environmental Education Waste collection and recycling services are provided to approximately30,000 households in The Woodlands through a vendor contract(currently with Waste Management) managed by Township staff. Thecost of basic garbage and recycling service is paid through the propertytax levy; the 2010 rate is $12.81 per month per household. Household trash, recycling and yard trimmings are collected once perweek at all residential properties. A recycling center (staffed by Waste Management employees)
  13. 13. 13 CommuniTy mainTenanCeis provided by the Township on Research Forest Drive two days per week. Additionally, the Township providesenvironmental education and stewardship opportunities with zero waste events, Adopt-a-Path, community gardens,Walk to School and other programming to engage students and adults. Residents receive water-wise guidance throughWoodlands Landscaping Solutions’ free classes, events and gardening brochures. Walk in the Woods Nature Lectureseries explores nature at the community’s back door. The Woodlands Township also provides mosquito abatement education and works with Montgomery CountyPrecinct #3 to conduct mosquito surveillance. FivE-yEAR PLAN DiRECTioN • Continue existing services. • Covenant enforcement costs will increase as the number of dwelling units increase. • Streetscape maintenance will increase as road miles increase / number of neighborhood entries increase. • Waste collection costs increase as units increase. • Waste collection contract bid in 2011/ current contract expires in early 2012. • Add appropriate staff to accommodate growth in the community.
  14. 14. 14 2011 service Areas & initiatives ConVenTion & VisiTors bureau The Tourism and Convention business in The Woodlands is substantialand provides approximately $3.6 million per year in hotel occupancy taxcollections. Tourism is also responsible for a major portion of the $30.7million collected in sales tax revenue. Leisure travelers, corporate groups and conventions contributesubstantially to The Woodlands economy by spending at restaurantsand retail establishments, which generates additional sales taxproceeds, and staying in hotels (nearly 500,000 room nights a year in10 hotel properties). This provides for a healthy business environmentand provides sales tax and hotel occupancy tax that reduce the overallproperty tax requirement. Currently, the major portion of the sales taxand room tax collections are used for property tax relief. Tourism in The Woodlands and Montgomery County is a billion-dollarbusiness, according to a report received in February 2008 by ThePerryman Group, a national economic and financial analysis firm. Thestudy shows that visitor spending currently generates an estimated $2.2 billion in annual aggregate spending, $1.3billion in annual output, and more than 20,750 jobs. Approximately 80 percent of this activity occurs within TheWoodlands. In addition, a comprehensive Visitation and Spending Study conducted in the month of September, 2007 by theCunningham Research Group showed that 78 percent of visitors in The Woodlands Town Center come from outside ofThe Woodlands, and these visitors spend more money than consumers within The Woodlands ($111 to $101, respectively). The Woodlands room tax collections are fully committed to the repayment of the debt associated with constructingthe Convention Center. This is somewhat unusual. For example, the funding to support the construction of mostmunicipal convention center projects is not generated entirely from hotel occupancy tax collections but also comes from a property tax commitment or a special tax for convention facilities. In the case of The Woodlands Township, the Convention Center construction cost was funded with a primary reliance on hotel occupancy tax revenues. In 2010, almost the entire debt service requirement for the Convention Center project will be paid from the hotel occupancy tax. The Woodlands Township appropriates $2.1 million in sales tax annually to the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) for programs and community promotions. Approximately 58 percent ($1.23 million) of the budget is used to directly produce events or support events that bring residents and visitors to The Woodlands. Red, Hot & Blue Festival The other 42 percent ($884,000) is used in
  15. 15. 15 ConVenTion & VisiTors bureaudestination marketing, promotion, Web sites, travel guides andmany other marketing programs. Increased visitor traffic to the area positively impacts theamount of sales tax revenue and hotel occupancy tax receivedby the Township. A question raised during the 2010 budgetdiscussions was, “How much additional income do we receivefrom the increased promotion versus the additional cost?” Basedon a recent evaluation, staff determined that two-thirds of eachdollar collected from sales tax or room tax is used for propertytax relief. The Township Board of Directors has the legislativeauthority to increase the hotel room tax by an additional onepercent on January 1, 2011 (from seven to eight percent),which it did at its August 25, 2010 meeting, and an additionalone percent on January 1, 2012 (from eight to nine percent).The additional funding is required to be used for tourism andconvention type of activities. The Woodlands Waterway® Arts Festival is one In 2010, the Township, through the CVB, is involved in a of the country’s leading arts events.number of community events and recreational offerings. Theseevents provide opportunities for residents and bring many visitors to the area who are attending or participating in theevents and most importantly, spending money in The Woodlands. Listed below are a number of the major events wheresome level of support is provided by the Township or the CVB. • Taste of the Town • Muddy Trails • The Woodlands Waterway® Arts Festival • The Children’s Festival • Fiesta Universal • Junior League Holiday Market • Food & Wine Week • Run Thru The Woods • CB&I Triathlon • The Ice Rink™ at The Woodlands Town Center • Fourth of July / Red, Hot & Blue Festival • The Woodlands Winter Wonderland • Wildflower Festival • Oktoberfest • Lighting of the Doves • Arbor Day • International Winter on the Waterway (iWOW) Festival • Ironman Texas • 10 For Texas • Multiple events at Waterway Square FivE-yEAR PLAN DiRECTioN • Continue existing operations. • Increase hotel occupancy tax rate by one percent in 2011 / use 2011 supplemental room tax increase for water taxi renovation/operations. • Increase hotel occupancy tax rate by one percent in 2012.
  16. 16. 16 2011 service Areas & initiatives TransPorTaTion & DeVeLoPmenT groWTh funDingTrolley service The Woodlands Township provides or participates infunding for transportation services in the Town Center. Thisincludes trolley service in the Town Center, which currentlyprovides free transportation to approximately 8,000 ridersmonthly. This service is funded through a grant with an annualcost to the Township of approximately $194,000. The currentgrant runs for a three-year period. Discussion has occurred in the community about expansionof the trolley system to include additional areas: • A larger portion of the Town Center area serving all hotels. • Service to all village shopping centers. Implementing either or both of these trolley serviceexpansions will require an additional financial commitment fromthe Township. If grant funding is available, the typical grantfunding provides about 50 percent of the operating costs. Funding is included in the 2010 budget to study thefeasibility and costs to expand trolley service through a contractwith The Goodman Corporation.Water Taxi Consideration The water taxi system is currently owned by The WoodlandsDevelopment Company and operated through the BrazosTransit Authority. The Woodlands Development Company isnot interested in continuing to own the boats on a long-term basis Market streetand this program is currently under evaluation by the Township. To date, no Township funding has been expended on the operation of the water taxi system. Although the Board of Directors supported the concept of The Woodlands Township and the CVB assuming this operation, approval of the formal agreements is expected to take place in the fall of 2010. During the 2011 budget process which took place in August, 2010, the Board of Directors considered and approved hotel occupancy tax funding to be utilized for the water taxi operation. The Township had received legislative authority to receive designated funds for Convention & Visitor Bureau marketing purposes two years prior. This new room tax is
  17. 17. 17 TransPorTaTion & DeVeLoPmenT groWTh funDingexpected to generate an additional $500,000 in funding in2011 and is restricted to CVB uses. Under this plan, thewater taxis would be funded by visitors directly from roomtax and no property tax will be used. While a marketing function of the CVB, the goalis to have the boats operate in positive revenue withina three- to five-year time frame. The allocation of thenew supplemental hotel occupancy tax for the water taxioperation would provide a “one time” allocation of room taxfunds. The directive to the CVB by the Township Boardis to make the operation self supporting within a three- tofive-year period or to seek other operating options. After the2011 appropriation of room tax funds, the Township willnot allocate additional operating support for the water taxi operation.Economic Development The Woodlands Township funds events and programs of strategicpartners in South Montgomery County and the Greater Houstonarea. The development of these strategic partnerships is important toThe Woodlands Township to assist in economic development efforts,regional growth, regional transportation planning and transportationsystem advocacy. Listed below are some of the strategic partnerships. • South Montgomery County Woodlands Economic Development Partnership - $125,000 • Greater Houston Partnership - $25,000 • Center for Houston’s Future - $15,000 • Cooperative Programs - $43,500 • Opportunity Houston - $20,000 • Leadership Montgomery County - $5,000 FivE-yEAR PLAN DiRECTioN • Contine existing programs. • Consider expansion of trolley service: » To all hotels in Town Center. » To village centers. • CVB assumes water taxi operations using “new” supplemental room tax funds.
  18. 18. 18 fiVe-year PLan issuesTownship Facility In 2010, The Woodlands Township operates administrative staff service functions out of three buildings(not including parks, recreation and environmental services). These buildings are leased and comprise a total ofapproximately 42,000 square feet of gross office space. The current combined facilities accommodate existing needsbut do not contain additional space to provide for growth needs or allow for improvements in operational efficiency.Two of the primary office leases terminate at the end of 2011. Funding has been included in the five-year plan to allowtransition from existing office locations into a single office facility in late 2011 when two existing leases expire.Future Facility Feasibility The Board included funding in the 2011 budget to investigate the feasibility of constructing a sports complex toaccommodate a number of athletic needs. A number of groups representing soccer, rugby, lacrosse and softball haverequested that the Board consider future athletic facility needs. The Board also included funding in the 2011 budgetto do a feasibility analysis for a museum / performing arts facility along The Woodlands Waterway®. Both of theseprojects are in the preliminary stages with no funding sources identified. ice Rink The Ice Rink™ at The Woodlands Town Center is an established event intended to function as a major tourism generator in the “downtown” area of The Woodlands during the holiday season. The Ice Rink™ at The Woodlands Town Center, which concluded its 11th anniversary in the 2009 - 2010 season, serves as an important marketing tool in the promotion of holidays in The Woodlands. More than 340,000 skaters have come through The Ice Rink™ over the years, with attendance near or more than 40,000 in four consecutive years. The Ice Rink™ has always been produced in a temporary location (three different sites in 10 years), and building a permanent site for aseasonal ice rink is in the best interest of The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Woodlands Townshipand the entire community. Here are a few reasons why: • The Ice Rink™ would take place in the same location each year, creating consistency with the consumer. The general public would not need to be re-educated about a new location after a move. • A permanent structure would save significant expenses versus building a rink from ground up every year. • Annual savings would be significant moving from a temporary structure to a permanent facility. Temporary costs are estimated at $185,000 annually. Over the past two years, The Ice Rink™ has generated in excess of $150,000 in user fees (net) and more than $38,000 in sponsorships (net) for a total revenue stream of $188,000 per year. A feasibility study is currently underway with PGAL for a permanent site on The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilionproperty.
  19. 19. 19 fiVe-year PLan issuesReplacement Reserve for Existing Capital Assets The Woodlands Township is responsible for the maintenance and replacement of park equipment (119 parks),replacement of pathways, fleet equipment, fire trucks and equipment, computer equipment, swimming pools /equipment, extensive irrigation systems, parking lots, fountains and village and neighborhood entry way signage. Inaddition, facilities such as the fire stations, The Woodlands Township Recreation Center and the Parks and Recreation/Environmental Services offices require maintenance and potential improvements or replacements. Prior to 2007, cashreserves were held by the WCA to allow its assets to be replaced from reserves as needed. These reserves were depletedin the transition process. Adequate reserves will need to be reinstated over time to provide for an effective replacementreserve program. A reserve study is planned for late 2010. The Township adheres to reserve policy guidelines of maintaining a working capital reserve equal to 20 percentof operating revenues and utilizing 75 percent of monies generated by favorable budget variances to fund a capitalreserve and the remaining 25 percent to fund an economic development reserve. (Additionally, revenues from an eventsadmission tax implemented in 2011 would be used to fund the economic development reserve.)Revenue Estimates Revenue estimates for the five-year plan will need to be adjusted / revised annually to reflect changing conditions insales tax and room tax trends.over-65 Exemption The over-65 exemption of $25,000 has been included at this level throughout the five-year plan.Homestead Exemption No homestead exemption has been included in the five-year plan.Debt service Costs for Bonds issued in 2012 Approximately $12 million in debt is projected to be issued in 2012 to fund parks and pathways projects, to rebuildCentral Fire Station and to purchase two ladder trucks. The debt service costs are built into the five-year plan. Savingsin bond-funded projects will result in the Township issuing $3 million less in debt obligations than originally approvedby the voters in November, 2009.Personnel - Public safety Changes The five-year plan includes a number of proposed increases in personnel. The primary changes are in public safetywhere 34 full-time positions and two new fire stations are proposed to meet public safety needs in The Woodlands FireDepartment and in contract law enforcement.
  20. 20. 20 PLanning for buiLD ouT The Woodlands is still a number of years away from“build out.” This means that as the community continuesto grow, services will have to be expanded to include thenew growth areas and increased population density. TheWoodlands will continue to add residential housing units, addhigh density residential projects and grow commercial andbusiness square footage. For example, between now and buildout: • Population will increase from 93,500 to 130,000. • Commercial and industrial square footage will increase from 26 million square feet to 36.4 million square feet. • Residential units will increase from 38,590 to 50,473. • Parks will increase from 119 to 135. • Pathways will increase from 185 miles to 205 miles. • Open space will increase from 2,750 acres to 4,200 acres. A factor that impacts our current financial planning process is that at build out, there will most likely be a changein services / functions currently provided by The Woodlands Land Development Company (TWLDC). At the current time, The Woodlands Land Development Company provides and manages a number of services within The Woodlands. As The Woodlands matures and is built out, services previously partially funded or managed by The Woodlands Development Company may have to be assumed by The Woodlands Township or eliminated. Expectations are the transfer of services will not occur all at once but will occur over a period of years. The Township will need future financial capacity to assume these services. Alternatives to providing the required financial capacity would be to eliminate the service or change existing services to provide capacity. The purpose of this discussion is to consider how these factors should be addressedin the long range plan. Some of the services currently provided through the Development Company are: • Streetscape maintenance (a portion of the costs are currently funded by TWLDC) • Construction management and funding for capital projects • Community-wide special events and sponsorships • Public art program • Community planning efforts / Development Review Committee (DRC) and Community Standards Committee (CSC) development plan review functions • Some public works functions / roadway planning / drainage considerations / mobility planning
  21. 21. 21 PLanning for fuTure goVernanCe imPaCTs The Woodlands Township is currently a special purpose district which is authorized under Texas Law to collect sales tax, room tax and property tax and provide a wide range of municipal types of services. These are considered value-added services since they are enhancements to basic service levels provided by the other government organizations such as the County. One of the governance options that may be considered in the future is changing from a special purpose district to a municipal operation (incorporation). Incorporation would shift the responsibility for providing a number of basic services from the County to the Township. Some of the service costs and responsibilities expected to shift to the Township if incorporation occurs are: • Law enforcement – change from contract to municipal department • Assume roadway replacement responsibility • Assume roadway maintenance responsibility / public works functions • Assume traffic management responsibility • Municipal court operation • Planning / zoning • Utility operations (water and sewer) • Facility costs for police, courts and maintenance The “new” city may be able to collect additional revenues such as court fees and permit fees to offset some of thesecosts. An analysis of the costs versus revenues will be required in order to determine the net impact of incorporation onthe property tax rate. In a presentation made to the Township Board of Directors earlier this year, staff recommended that a Board /community discussion on this matter begin in the fall of 2010. The purpose of the discussion will be to develop aprocess to explore the governance options and provide factual information to the public. • Consider establishing a steering committee with a specific charge (and appropriate budget) to develop the process and provide community information. • Develop timetable for completion of the work. » Potential timing of election. » Establish time frame for voter education prior to the election. Staff has included an amount in the 2011 budget recommendation to provide funding for legal, research and processdevelopment that may be necessary to complete this process. FivE-yEAR PLAN DiRECTioN • Include funding for professional assistance with governance process in 2011 and 2012. • Unable to factor in potential incorporation costs at this time / need more data.
  22. 22. 22 frequenTLy askeD quesTionsQ: How much funding will be generated from the 2010 property tax levy and how will these funds be used?A: Only a portion of the community services are funded through the property tax levy. Of the $86.8 million total budget for 2011, $39.6 million is funded through the property tax levy. Property tax is used primarily to fund the following services: • Community policing • Covenant enforcement • Parks and pathways • Aquatics • Neighborhood services • Garbage collection/recycling • Community-wide maintenance, e.g., streets and entryways • Administrative / community relations • Capital asset replacements • Capital asset additions (except as provided through bonding/ borrowing) • Debt service – outstanding debtQ: How much revenue will be generated from 2011 sales tax and room tax collections and how are these funds proposed to be used?A: A total of $35.2 million is budgeted from sales tax and room tax in 2011. The sales tax is expected to generate approximately $31.2 million annually and the hotel room tax will generate approximately $4.0 million annually. Approximately one-third of the sales tax and hotel room tax collections are used to fund visitor promotion costs and related service costs. • Debt service – convention center - $3.7 million • Convention and Visitors Bureau - $2.4 million • Economic Development Zone debt service - $2.2 million • Seasonal lighting - $0.14 million • Trolley service - $0.4 million • Mounted patrol and security - $1.3 million • Ambassador program - $0.3 million • Economic Development budget - $0.4 million The remaining two-thirds of the sales tax and room tax collections will be used to reduce the property tax.
  23. 23. 23 frequenTLy-askeD quesTionsQ: How much bonding and borrowing capacity is available to fund future capital projects?A: The voters authorized a bond issue of $49.9 million in November, 2009. Of this total authorization, approximately $35 million has been issued to fund 2010 and 2011 projects. These proceeds are being used to fund the following projects in 2010 and 2011: • Construction of two new fire stations • New park and pathway projects • Refinancing of existing debt Approximately $15 million in bonding authorization has been set aside to fund the following projects in 2012 through 2014. • Replacement of Central Fire Station ($6.3 million) • Purchase of two fire ladder trucks ($2.1 million) • New park and pathway projects ($5.8 million)
  24. 24. 24 2011 ConsoLiDaTeD buDgeT Revenue by Type 2011 Property Tax $ 39,649,133 Sales and Use Tax 31,155,662 Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) 4,001,219 Program Revenues 3,383,300 Interest Income 1,116,416 Other Income 1,052,665 Administrative Fees 346,100 Grants and Contributions 194,400 Events Admission Tax 75,000 $ 80,973,895 2011 REVENUE BY TYPE Other 7% Property Tax 49 % Sales & Use Tax 39 %
  25. 25. 25 2011 ConsoLiDaTeD buDgeT Expenditure by Department 2011 The Woodlands Fire Department $ 15,273,637 Parks and Recreation 12,274,824 Capital Outlay/Reserves 12,186,100 Community Services 12,088,787 Law Enforcement/Neighborhood Services 10,085,915 Debt Service 7,796,632 General Government 5,037,815 Other Expenditures 3,161,562 Non-Departmental 3,150,788 Convention & Visitors Bureau 2,559,837 Community Relations 1,082,895 Regional Participation 968,566 Transportation 548,620 Economic Development 381,300 Governance 200,000 $ 86,797,278In addition to the revenues identified on page 24, expenditures will be funded by bond proceeds received in 2010 for certain 2011 capital expenditures. 2011 EXPENDITURE BY TYPE Other CVB 10 % Fire Department General 3 % 18 % 6% Debt Service 9% Parks & Recreation 14 % Law Enforcement 12 % Capital Outlay/ Reserves Community Services 14 % 14 % As adopted by the Township Board of Directors in August, 2010.
  26. 26. 26 organizaTion CharT Constituents Board of Directors President/General Manager Manager of Intergovernmental Director of Human Relations/Transportation Resources Services Management Analyst Assistant General Assistant General Director of Community The Woodlands Fire Manager - Community Manager - Finance & Relations/CVB President Department Services Administration Community Community Fiscal Services/Budget Fire Protection Relations Services Convention & Visitors Parks & Information Technology Administration Bureau Recreation Records/ Covenant Property Data Training Administration Management Law Enforcement/ Dispatch Neighborhood Services Solid Waste/ Environmental Services
  27. 27. 27The Woodlands, Texas Community Facts January 1, 2010 CumulativeFinancial 1/1/10 UltimateNon-Residential – Assessed Value $3.1 billion –Residential – Assessed Value $9.6 billion –Total Assessed Value in The Woodlands $12.7 billion –Commercial/Industrial(completed and started square footage)Retail / Hospitality / General Commercial 9.0 million 12.9 millionOffice 6.7 million 9.8 millionIndustrial / Technical 4.1 million 6.4 millionInstitutional 6.2 million 7.3 millionTotal Non-Residential 26.0 million 36.4 millionResidential(completed and started units)Homes 29,158 34,953Apartments & Assisted Living 6,165 9,820Attached Homes 3,267 5,700Total Units 38,590 50,473OtherEmployers 1,650 2,320Employees 45,380 67,350Construction and other temporary workers 3,500 N/ASchools (public) 20 23Schools (private) 7 8Religious congregations 35 44Roads (two-lane) 447 miles 550 milesPathways 185 miles 205 milesParks 116 135Open space 2,750 acres 4,200 acresGolf courses 1,690 acres 1,690 acresForest preserve 1,680 acres 1,900 acresTotal open space, golf courses and forest preserve 6,120 acres 7,790 acres MontgomeryPopulation Statistics County The Woodlands4/1/70 Census 49,479 --4/1/80 Census 128,487 8,4344/1/90 Census 182,201 29,2054/1/00 Census & 12/31/00 The Woodlands (actual) 293,768 63,2032009 Estimate & The Woodlands (actual) 439,793 92,34812/2014 (projection) 507,143 110,240Ultimate (projection) N/A 130,000The Woodlands® The Woodlands Homefinder Center 2000 Woodlands Parkway The Woodlands, TX 77380 or call (281) 719-6333source: The Woodlands Development Company, 2010 or toll-free (888) 504-5050The Woodlands is a project of The Woodlands Development Company, www.thewoodlands.coma limited partnership of Morgan Stanley and General Growth Properties, Inc.
  28. 28. 28 ToWnshiP LoCaTions Board Chambers service Center 10001 Woodloch Forest, Suite 600 2201 Lake Woodlands Drive The Woodlands, Texas 77380 The Woodlands, Texas 77380 281-210-3800 281-210-3800 Parks, Recreation and The Woodlands Township Environmental services Recreation Center 8203 Millennium Forest Drive 5310 Research Forest Drive The Woodlands, Texas 77381 The Woodlands, Texas 77381 281-210-3900 281-210-3950 Law Enforcement and The Woodlands Neighborhood services Emergency Training Annex Center 2202 Timberloch Place, Suite 222 16135 IH 45 South The Woodlands, Texas 77381 The Woodlands, Texas 77385 281-210-3800 281-367-3444 Please see page 8 for a list of The Woodlands Fire Department stations. There are many ways to find out more information about The Woodlands Township and its services: visit at; attend public meetings, the schedules of which are on the Township Web site; or reference The Woodlands Community Magazine, a monthly magazine sent to residents.38,000 09/2010 Printed on recycled paper.