The Woodlands Township Board of Directors receives Power Outage update and makes Appointments
The Woodlands Township Board of Directors held a Regular Board Meeting on December 7, 2022, at 6 p.m., at the office of The Woodlands Township.
Before leading the invocation, Dr. Ed Robb, Founding Pastor and current Pastor Emeritus of The Woodlands Methodist Church, asked all to bow their heads and give gratitude for the life of Michael Richmond who passed away on December 5, 2022. Dr. Robb noted that Michael Richmond was the Founding Chairman of Town Center Improvement District which was the predecessor organization that gave birth to The Woodlands Township.
During public comment, members of the community: recommended a candidate for DSC; three members asked the Board to create a separate position, Chair Emeritus, to assist Visit The Woodlands (CVB), and recommended Bruce Reiser; and Dynamo Dash Youth representative announced the upcoming 3v3 Winterblast Soccer Tournament will be held on December 10 at Bear Branch Sports Fields.
Reports were received from the following Village Associations:
- Alden Bridge: Participating in the lighting contest, accepting nominations until 12/9; Next meeting will be held on 1/10
- Creekside Park: Annual Winter Festival and Chili Cookout will be held on 1/21; Christmas lighting winners will be announced 12/14; Dog attacked a resident without owner present, talked to Constable, and will plan to call animal control in the future if issues arise; Installation of more one way signs; Power outages (3-4 on Thanksgiving Day and again on following Saturday) and working with CenterPoint service area representative, escalation is required and CPVA asked for the Township’s help for transparency and assistance, request to look at lines being buried; Ribbon cutting held for the Gosling Bridge
The annual service agreement with Interfaith of The Woodlands for senior transportation services, that provides transportation to medical appointments, shopping, etc., allowing residents to stay in their home, was approved. About 25 individuals regularly participate every month and $80,000 is budgeted for the program. The program has an age limit to participate with room to accept new participants.
During the update from CenterPoint Energy regarding power outages, Dr. Chris Nunes, The Woodlands Township COO, shared that The Township has been in contact with CenterPoint and the outages have had significant impact on residents and the Township’s equipment in Creekside Park. CenterPoint Energy did not have a report prepared by the Board meeting but is expected to present to the Board hopefully in January. The CenterPoint representative sent a letter to the Township earlier on that same day (December 7 at about 2:48 p.m.) regarding the power interruptions and stating that the causes have been identified and fixed. Two powerlines that were near together/touching when the wind blew have been secured by installing a pole. Locations also have been identified where trees need to be trimmed and extending lines further from the trees. Dr. Nunes confirmed that the The Township have not had a report of outages at Rob Fleming Center since November 26; however, there are several circuits in the area and Dr. Ann Snyder noted that she received messages from numerous residents regarding outages since November 26.
Gil Staley, CEO of The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership (EDP), presented an annual report for the EDP. The reason why The Woodlands EDP exists is to promote job growth and economic vitality in The Woodlands area by recruiting new businesses and supporting existing businesses in job retention and expansion. For Business Recruitment, 13 requests were received for proposals (2 Secured) and represents 1,700 jobs. Gil Staley shared an overview of Greater Houston Partnership activity, Ad Hoc activity, and Organizational activities and events the EDP has been involved with over the past year. The Woodlands EDP has participated in 165 company retention visits. The Woodlands Township has 84 Major employers in 2022 (same as 2021) representing 36,673 jobs (down near almost 2K, including losing ExxonMobil in relocation south to Spring), 30.4% of the jobs in Healthcare and 18.8% in Education. The Woodlands Township has 13 Mid-Size Employers, making up 1,143 jobs. The Woodlands EDP was recognized by REDnews Journals as EDP of the Year. The Woodlands EDP also accepted internships from Conroe ISD, EfTA, and SHSU. The Woodlands EDP has over 100 partners (105) with memberships from $6,000 to $25,000+. The Woodlands EDP hosted 20 Special Events and launched a Membership Retention Program with 49 Meetings Conducted. 12 Presentations were conducted in the community as well as efforts in local outreach and received ally visits.
Gil Staley responded to questions from the Board members, and shared that there is no formal follow up program on lost proposals; however, the success rate of companies moving to The Woodlands dramatically increase if the company visits the community. Staley shared that out of state/country companies typically go to the governor first and stressed the importance of having state incentives to offer companies wanting to move to Texas to be competitive. Staley shared that no matter the economy, the EDP aggressively goes for the opportunity to bring companies to The Woodlands and noted that The Woodlands carries a lot of weight in the state.
The 2023 Service Agreement with The Woodlands Economic Development Partnership for $195,000 was approved with the following modifications: an ex officio member on the EDP Board of Directors for the CVB Chairman (Visit The Woodlands), President of Township and/or designated Township Director have the opportunity attend partnership meetings and meet with economic development partners, and EDP CEO agrees to meet and confer (not including action) with designated member or Township President vs. bring governmental issue and/or legislative position to the Board. The agreement was approved with the ability to proceed and work with legal counsel on the wording of the agreement.
Angela Branch, The Woodlands Township Director of Human Resources, made a presentation on the Compensation and Classification Study. The first study was performed in 2009, second in 2019, and third study was postponed to 2023. The purpose of the study is to align compensation philosophy and practices with Township goals (attract and retain top talent; support employment development over a career) and respond to significant changes in labor market since last study in 2019. The Woodlands Township selected a consulting firm to recommend to perform the Compensation and Classification Study per the following process: 6 responses were received for the Request for Qualifications, the selection team evaluated and scored responses, and the selection team interviewed the top 3 firms. Evergreen Solutions received the highest aggregate score across all categories and was recommended with an estimated cost of $55K-$65K and a timeline of January 2023 to May 2023. The consulting firm was approved by the Board.
After interviewing candidates at the previous board meeting, the Board voted and appointed Walt Lisiewski and Mary Funderburg to the Development Standards Committee for two year terms.
Directors Bob Milner and Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs were appointed to the Audit Committee.
Director Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council.
The Township’s Legal Counsel, Bret Strong, noted that the three comments during public comment asking the Board to create a separate position, Chair Emeritus, to assist Visit The Woodlands, and recommending Bruce Reiser, would have to be brought to the CVB Board and is the business of the CVB. The topic was outside of the agenda items. Dr. Ann Snyder also made a comment that Bruce Reiser made a significant impact and contribution to the CVB.
The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB, dba Visit The Woodlands) recommended Brad Bailey, Linda Nelson, and Richard Franks to serve on the CVB Board. The Township Board approved the recommended three directors as Class A members of the CVB Board and Nick Wolda as the CVB President from December 2022 to December 2023.
Director Bob Milner was appointed to the Conroe-The Woodlands Urbanized Area (UZA) Transit Advisory Committee.
Director Kyle Watson was appointed to serve as a Director on The Woodlands Road Utility District No. 1 Board of Directors.
The Board recessed to Executive Session to discuss matters relating to real, deliberation of economic development negotiations, discuss personnel matters, discuss IT network or critical infrastructure security, and to consult with The Woodlands Township’s attorney.
The Board reconvened in public session and authorized Township staff and legal counsel to draft documentation including draft legislation relative to implementation of an assessment on local hotels to be used in support of meetings, tourism, and conventions in The Woodlands.
Dr. Ann Snyder asked for the discussion of the charter to establish an Ad Hoc Economic Development committee to be placed on the agenda in January.
Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs asked for an update or status of agenda item regarding the ponds. An update was shared that Dr. Nunes is currently working with parties and the item will be placed on the January 19agenda.
In the Board announcements, Kyle Watson shared his thanks to the Township staff for their assistance over the past two weeks and helping the new directors in their roles. The Board also shared wishes of a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the community before adjourning.
Watch the video recording and agenda of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors meeting at https://woodlandstx.new.swagit.com/videos/190713.
The next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 19 at 6 p.m. at office of The Woodlands Township located at 2801 Technology Forest Blvd.