Last May's road bond contained too much waste and controversial projects to win our support and the support of the voters of Montgomery County, as it was overwhelmingly rejected at the polls. But Montgomery County DOES need a road bond in order to address our dire mobility needs. Initially, the County Commissioners were hesitant to propose another road bond for this November. However, after much discussion, we have come to an agreement, and the commissioners are willing to propose a road bond that we can support. This road bond does not include The Woodlands Parkway extension, and sets the county up for better budgeting practices. We thank the commissioners for their efforts, and are jubilant about this win for county taxpayers. We hope you will vote for this bond in November. Our joint press release is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONROE, TX. AUGUST 21, 2015
Montgomery County to Schedule Special Session to Consider November 2015 Road Bond Election
Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal announced today that he and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley have reached an agreement with the Texas Patriots PAC on the proposed framework for a November Road Bond which all parties to the agreement could support. The PAC was one of the leading opponents of the May Road Bond. Judge Doyal has scheduled a special session of the Montgomery County Commissioners court to consider a November 2015 Road Bond Election based on the agreed framework.
The proposal will require the approval of Commissioners Court before it could be put on the November ballot.
“After two Road Bonds not passing, we were hesitant to attempt another bond this year,” said Judge Doyal. “But the County’s mobility needs are so acute that we had to try and see if we could come to a proposal we could all support. We all want what is best for the County, which provided a strong foundation to build agreement upon.”
“We believe this framework for road and bridge funding could serve as a model for other counties in Texas,” Judge Doyal said.
Asked about the recent refusals of Commissioners Court to consider a November bond, Judge Doyal replied “We had to reach a level of trust, which was difficult to do so soon after a failed effort.” He continued, “During these discussions, we came to feel more comfortable as there was real give and take as we worked together. When you get to know people, you sometimes realize you have more in common than you thought.”
“What also needs to be noted,” offered Commissioner Charlie Riley, “is the focus of this agreement on mobility projects which are a key to our County’s continued growth.”
Montgomery County’s population is projected to be at least 50% larger in 20 years.
One of the main features of the agreement is the proposal for two separate bonds. The 2015 proposed bond would be for $280 Million, divided with Precinct 3 receiving $84 Million, Precinct 4 $68 Million and Precincts 1 and 2 $64 Million each. A 2018 proposed bond would be for at least $70 Million, with proceeds divided between the precincts in the same proportion as the earlier bond. The reason given for the division into two bonds is the uncertain impact prolonged low oil prices might have on the County’s growth and revenue base. “I went through the energy cycles of the 80’s and in the worst case everything gets hit including growth and appraisal values,” said Jon Bauman, Vice President of the PAC and a retiree from a major oil company where he spent time in planning. “We think it would be wise to be mindful of the uncertainty the present oil price situation creates for the immediate future of the county.”
In order to dedicate future road bonds to mobility, an alternative means had to be established to fund the wear and tear maintenance on current roads in the county. “This was a key to us,” said Julie Turner, President of the PAC. “We wanted to build on the Commissioners Court recent decision to commit an additional $4 Million to the Road and Bridge Fund in the 2016 Budget. There appeared to be a genuine desire to fund maintenance on a pay-as-you-go basis instead of by debt.”
Starting with the 2017 budget, the court will annually allocate to the Road and Bridge Fund a minimum of 10.19 percent (the same percentage as the 2016 budget) of each year’s total property tax revenue to be used for road and bridge refurbishing and rehabilitation.
“This agreement puts in place the first steps toward creating a meaningful fund which eventually will be capable of paying for all the County’s road and bridge maintenance requirements,” said Turner. “There are no funds included for the extension of Woodlands Parkway in this proposal.”
The proposed November Road Bond is already receiving support from a number of the community leaders who opposed the May bond. Rayford Road is one of the areas where mobility relief is most needed. Penny Benbow, a co-founder of the Spring Creek Homeowners Coalition, stated, “The Rayford Road Corridor thanks all involved for bringing forth a well-balanced bond proposal which we can support. Relief for our area is long overdue and getting a second shot at it in 2015 is a blessing.”
Former State Representative Steve Toth said: “While it is not perfect, this new bond is clearly a step in the right direction for Montgomery County."
After recalling the contentious previous election, Woodlands Township Board Member Gordy Bunch said, “I support this new bond and appreciate the County Judge and Commissioners taking action this year!"
Traffic expert and Director of the Montgomery County Tea Party Ken Vaughn, speaking for himself, stated “I support the bond as the beginning of a journey with lots to do as we go along and the best deal we can do at this time.”
Judge Doyal, Commissioner Riley and the leaders of the Texas Patriots PAC are confident that if the Commissioners Court approve the November Bond as proposed by this agreement, the Bond will attract widespread support from Montgomery County voters.
For more information:
Montgomery County: County Judge Craig Doyal (936) 539-7812
Texas Patriots PAC: Bill O’Sullivan (832) 704-0925