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Walt Lisiewski: The Woodlands Township Candidate

Please note that Hello Woodlands is an unbiased, nonpartisan news source that does not support only one party or candidate. We do not accept or receive advertising or funding from any candidate, party or group. We believe in providing the community with educational information, credible facts, thoroughly researched topics and articles, and to be a voice for ALL members in our community.

Hello Woodlands gave the opportunity to candidates running for The Woodlands Township Board of Directors to complete a written interview including the same 10 questions. View candidate’s responses to our questions, if provided.

Each position has a two-year term, is an unpaid volunteer position, and is elected at-large by voters in The Woodlands Township in both Montgomery County and Harris County. The election is scheduled for November 5, 2019. Voters must be registered to vote for The Woodlands election.

THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP BOARD OF DIRECTORS – 2019 CANDIDATE

Walt Lisiewski is running for the Township Board Position 7.

1. Share your background. What originally brought you to The Woodlands?

My family moved to The Woodlands 30 years ago for my job.  We chose The Woodlands over any other Houston area because of the good schools and beautiful neighborhoods.  We are still in the same house in the Smokestone area of Panther Creek and we are fortunate to have some of the original neighbors as lifelong friends.

2. How do you contribute, give back and make a difference in our community?

Ten years ago when I retired, I decided to give back to our community.  As DSC Chair and on the RDRC before that, I enforce our unique covenants and design standards.  As a Director on MUD#1, we have authority over our local water and sewer utility and work hard on drainage issues.  As a Board member on the Panther Creek Village Association, I am involved in many community events such as the Flea Market.  I also volunteer for the 4th of July Parade, Habitat for Humanity and Insperity Golf Tournament.  I am also involved in Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Parish, attending regular mass and participating in the Men’s Club.  

3. Why do you enjoy living (and/or working) in The Woodlands?

This is home.  This is where Louise and I raised our children and we have many friends and many memories here.  The Woodlands is a unique community with a short but rich history.  I feel invested in The Woodlands and enjoy when I see the fruits of my efforts on the DSC, MUD or PCVA.  I would like to continue to share my skills and talents on the Township Board.

4. How has The Woodlands helped and impacted you?

The Woodlands has been a safe and interesting place for my children to grow up and thrive.  The CISD schools prepared them well for their respective career paths and has provided many opportunities for them.  As a matter of fact, our daughter is a special needs teacher at a local elementary school and she is giving back as well.  Our son and his family live in the Dayton area and we would love to have those two little boys back in The Woodlands as well.  Again, The Woodlands is our home.

5. What motivates you to run for The Woodlands Township Board of Directors?

I want to continue to serve our community.

6. What are 5 things that you want voters to know about you (personal, points, views, experience, etc.)?

            1.  I am not a politician, nor do I report to a politician or political group.

            2.  I have worked hard on Boards that govern various aspects of life in The Woodlands.

            3.  I approach my work in a business-like manner.

            4.  I have been able to work with people, whether or not we agree.

            5.  I have the time, talent, temperament and skills to do this job.

7. What makes you unique in comparison to other candidates?

Many of the things above separate me from other candidates.  No one has the same experience I have on governing Boards in The Woodlands.  The other candidates have fulltime jobs or are already over-scheduled with too many obligations.  I have had a long and successful career in business at a senior level.  My temperament allows me to work well with people.  I will exercise my own voice and never be a puppet for others.

8. What are your views on incorporation?

For me, Incorporation is not an emotional decision.  Old perils like annexation and The Woodlands Parkway extension are no longer a threat….and I don’t have a stake in the game – any more than each of us do. 

I look at the costs, the benefits and the downside of incorporation. Suffice it to say, that incorporation makes no sense from a business perspective.  The costs far outweigh the benefits and there is a huge risk if we get it wrong.

The costs: significantly more property taxes because we will assume financial responsibility for services currently the counties’ responsibility – like our roads, animal control and law enforcement.  Also, we will pay franchise fees which are a pass-through tax – to the tune of 7 million+ annually.

The benefits:  I don’t see any meaningful benefit.  One vote out of 47 on the HGAC does not give us control.  We need to work better with our neighbors to solve problems like flooding, subsidence, and mobility.  These issues require involvement by multiple entities whether we are a city or remain the Township.

The downside: The biggest risk is that we get it wrong and we can’t return to being The Township.  I actually am concerned that this is a significant risk because much of the information we have received understates the expenses and provides no contingencies.  What project do you know of that contains no contingencies? 

Also, the Township has not been transparent in providing legal opinions and answers to significant issues.  In fact, on annexation they withheld a 2107 legal opinion on the effect of the 2017 annexation bill on us…and still have not provided it. On the issue of a city’s authority over roads within the city, they provided an inaccurate legal opinion.  It took 2 residents to uncover these “mistakes”.

One of the greatest downsides that has not been discussed much is the length of time that we will be in flux and focused on creating governance structures, rather than improving our existing situation.  If the voters approve incorporation, we will form a General Law City.  After we have functioned as a General Law City, we will have to create a charter and become a Home Rule City.  This will most likely take at least 5 years to become a mature city and many issues will need to be resolved in the process. This kind of instability is not good for businesses or residents.

9. If elected, what would your top 3 priorities as a Township Board of Director? How would you work to impact/shape the future of The Woodlands?

Complete the study and assure that the results are accurate, balanced and transparent.  Then make sure that the results are widely disseminated and clearly articulated. 

Work on our relationships with our neighbors and others who provide services to our residents.  Whether we are a city or an SPD, we have to have good relationships and work together for the benefit of our residents.

Maintain the high quality of The Woodlands including our Parks and Rec, Fire Department and trash collection.  Continue to work with others to maintain or improve  the quality of Law Enforcement, our Roads and Bridges, Drainage, Flood prevention, schools, drinking water quality, Subsidence, Mobility, etc.

10. Would you like to share any other words or a message to The Woodlands community?

My supporters are more than 125 friends, neighbors, peers on governing Boards and people who know me, my family, my work ethic and my commitment.  I am honored that two current Township Board members support me as well.  I am also proud that the only non-political group to endorse candidates, the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) has chosen be as their recommended candidate for Position No. 7.  With important issues affecting our future (Incorporation, flooding, mobility, succession planning) we need a Director who shows up and is effective on day 1 – who is not conflicted and who has a proven record of exercising his own voice. 

Learn more at Lisiewski4Township.com

2019 CANDIDATE FORUM

The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Advocacy Council hosted a candidate forum for the 2019 race on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 from 4-6 p.m. at the Chamber’s Lakeshore Boardroom, located at 9320 Lakeside Blvd. in The Woodlands. 

Three at-large positions on The Woodlands Township Board of Directors will be elected in the November 5, 2019 election, designated as positions 5, 6 and 7. 

Watch the video of the forum on the Hello Woodlands YouTube Channel below:

Please visit the November Election section on the Township’s website for additional information at https://thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/1350/November-2019-Election

Please note that Hello Woodlands is an unbiased, nonpartisan news source that does not support only one party or candidate. We do not accept or receive advertising or funding from any candidate, party or group. We believe in providing the community with educational information, credible facts, thoroughly researched topics and articles, and to be a voice for ALL members in our community.

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