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The Woodlands’ Residents To Weigh Pros And Cons Of Becoming A City

Incorporation would protect the wealthy master-planned community from annexation by Houston or Conroe. But it could also drive up residents’ property tax bills.

The Woodlands has started a study on its potential incorporation, which would mean the master-planned community created by George Mitchell in the mid-1970s would formally become a city with its own municipal government.

This week, The Woodlands will take another step towards a vote on whether to incorporate as a city with its own municipal government. The master-planned community, located 30 miles north of downtown Houston, is preparing to publish the findings of a study for residents on the pros and cons of incorporation.

Currently, most of The Woodlands’ tax revenues go to Montgomery County. Those revenues make the wealthy community an attractive target for annexation by the City of Houston or the City of Conroe.

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said that voting to make The Woodlands a city would protect it from annexation and let it hold onto more of its tax receipts. “The cost to this,” Jones said, “is generally that by incorporating, residents will likely pay more in property taxes than they’re presently paying. They’ll get more services, and they’ll have more control over the quality and the nature of their services, but they are going to pay more.”

At present, The Woodlands is governed as a township. It has regional participation agreements with Houston and Conroe that prohibit the two cities from annexing the township until 2057. Last year, the Texas Legislature passed a law requiring cities get consent from residents before annexing territory. Jones said that the participation agreement and the law make it more difficult to annex The Woodlands, but not impossible.

Matrix Consulting Group, which conducted the study, is set to publish the results online by Friday.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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