Woodlands Incorporation Study
- Local Governments
- Public Sector
- Government Services
- Municipal Advisory Services
- Woodlands, Texas
Challenge: The Woodlands is a special-purpose district with a population of more than 115,000 about 28 miles north of Houston and home to several corporate campuses. The district is run by a seven-member Township Board of Directors, who are elected directly by the residents of the township in an at-large election for two-year staggered terms. The Woodlands Township government provides municipal government-type services, such as trash pickup, parks and recreation, covenant enforcement, fire and rescue services, streetscaping, economic development, and enhanced law enforcement and security patrols.
Due to pressures of annexation more than 20 years ago, The Woodlands started to explore the possibility of city incorporation as a pathway to greater self-reliance. Seven years ago, a study was conducted that had several methodology flaws (for example, it indicated that Municipal Utility Districts must be absorbed by The Township upon incorporation).
In 2017, with the passage of legislation authorizing the Board to place incorporation on an election ballot for consideration by the votes, The Woodland’s Board sought a new incorporation study to provide comprehensive, objective, and factual information available to the public that can guide discussions and future determinations regarding incorporation.
Solution: In 2018, HR Green was engaged as part of a consultant team for the Woodlands Incorporation Study to assess the community’s infrastructure assets, operational models, service delivery mechanisms and efficiencies, and costs of incorporation balanced against the ability to provide additional services for residents while promoting community identity and a future governance structure. HR Green’s goals have included:
- Preparing and implementing practical and defensible studies that are implementable
- Avoiding any increase in taxes whenever possible
- Leveraging experienced, Houston-based engineering staff and national leadership to
assess all infrastructure needs
- Investigating opportunities to streamline service delivery and enhance levels of service
- Achieving considerable cost savings through performance-based budgeting
- Evaluating Alternative Service Delivery approaches of services
HR Green prepared a Pavement Management Plan, which involved:
- Implementing the Paver ™ system roadway pavement network
- Preparing a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) Survey
- Performing a network-level field condition survey and establishing a Pavement Condition Index-for the Township’s roadway pavements
- Analyzing roadway pavement maintenance and repair budget
- Performing a five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget analysis of multiple scenarios to determine future needs, including cost estimates and potential funding source
Our staff has also prepared a Water/Wastewater/Drainage Infrastructure System Assessment and Evaluation Report. The purpose of this analysis was to:
- Evaluate the existing water, wastewater, and drainage system assets and services provided to the residents of The Woodlands Township through the 14 existing Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) in order to proactively develop multi-faceted strategies and mitigation measures
- Assess the existing and future operational models (and assorted costs) available for consideration by the Woodlands to handle water and wastewater services if the Township determines to move forward with incorporation
- Analyze various MUDs to understand current service delivery approaches
- Analyze various operating models
- HR Green staff also prepared a Bridge Maintenance and Repair Plan, as well as an analysis of Public Works contracting and maintenance options
Benefit: HR Green’s assessment and recommendations for the Woodlands Incorporation Study are providing Township with the needed information to help determine if it will be incorporated as a city in the future.