Township adopts 2023 budget and sets historically low tax rate
The Woodlands Township Board of Directors unanimously voted to adopt its lowest property tax rate in its 12-year history at a special public meeting held Monday, September 12, 2022. President and Chief Executive Officer Monique Sharp led the board through the comprehensive public meetings to develop the rate for residents and businesses of The Woodlands.
All seven (7) directors unanimously approved the 2022 Ad Valorem Tax Rate of 18.50 cents per $100 of taxable value which, for the majority of property owners, will produce a lower tax bill than the prior year despite the increase in appraisals seen throughout The Woodlands. In total, property owners will pay $2.5 million less in property taxes to the Township in 2023 compared to 2022.
The 2022 rate of 18.50 cents, which helps fund the Township’s 2023 fiscal year budget, is comprised of a maintenance and operations rate of $0.1729 and a debt service rate of $0.121. The rate is 17.1% lower than the 2021 rate of 22.31 cents and 5.8% lower than the no-new-revenue rate of 19.64 cents certified by the Montgomery County tax assessor. The no-new-revenue rate is the tax rate that would impose the same of taxes as last year when comparing properties taxed in both years. Since 2010, The Woodlands Township’s Board of Directors has lowered the tax rate by 56.0%.
The Township tax represents about 10% of the total tax bill for Montgomery County residents and 8% of the tax bill for Harris County residents. The largest portion of taxes paid go to public school districts, whose rates can be up to six times higher than the Township, and the Counties, whose rates are double (Montgomery) and nearly triple (Harris) of the Township rate.
“This is a historic day in The Woodlands,” said Township Chairman of the Board Gordy Bunch of the proposed tax rate. “We salute the efforts of our President and CEO Monique Sharp and her finance team, this board, and previous boards to put us in such an excellent financial position. The majority of our residents will be paying less Township taxes than last year, but they will be receiving an enhancement of high-level services and amenities they appreciate as seen in the 2022 Township Resident Survey.”
The Woodlands Township recently conducted its Resident Survey and achieved the highest rankings ever in its biennial survey. Please see link to the survey here.
“In a span of six years, we have dealt with many natural disasters, a global pandemic and the highest inflation in 50 years, yet the Township is in strong financial condition due to great decisions recommended and made by staff and several boards over the years,” Chairman Bunch said. “Our residents and businesses should see a much lower tax rate and resulting tax bill reduction from The Woodlands Township.”
The Woodlands Township Board also adopted its 2023 Budget in the amount of $148.4 million, representing a 0.5% increase over the 2022 Budget. The 2023 Budget funds many new initiatives including:
- Improvements to Fire Station 5 and the Emergency Training Center as well as adding a new fire company of firefighters to serve the west side of The Woodlands.
- Adding a 13th officer position to the law enforcement contract with Harris County Constable Precinct 4 (Village of Creekside Park).
- New amenities at Bear Branch Park, expanding facilities at Texas TreeVentures, adding a revenue-generating sailboat program on Lake Woodlands, creating a walking/running/bike pathway along Kuykendahl, and establishing new cycling improvements on Lake Woodlands Drive.
- Improvements to parks throughout The Woodlands as identified in the 2022 Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment including Alden Bridge Sports Park, Bear Branch Sportsfields, additional tennis and pickleball courts, a new dog park, and additional and renovated restrooms.
The Township’s Board of Directors was able to significantly reduce the tax rate while providing enhanced services and amenities due to effective financial policies that have been in place for a number of years. These include a focus on diverse revenue sources, robust sales and hotel tax collections, and maintenance of reserve balances in line with best practices recommended by credit agencies and the Government Finance Officers Association.
Policies that prevent the Township from being burdened with unfunded pension costs or high debt also contribute to the low tax rate. Debt balances have been reduced $76.8 million or 72% over the past 10 years, and the retirement and refinancing of bonds at historically low rates have resulted in $12.5 million in interest expense savings. These low debt balances combined with evidence of strong fiscal management resulted in the Township achieving a bond rating of AA+, which is the highest bond rating held by a special purpose district in Texas.
The Board of Directors, with staff and general public, met three consecutive days regarding the tax rate and budget between August 22-24, 2022. The meetings were open to the public and can be watched online at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/meetingvideos.
For more information on The Woodlands Township, please call 281-210-3800 or visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov. The meeting can be watched in its entirety at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/meetingvideos.
Source: The Woodlands Township