The Woodlands Edition | April 2022


2 0 2 2 L O C A L V O T E R G U I D E

WHAT DOMUDS DO? Annual responsibilities on municipal utility district boards within The Woodlands Water Agency include setting tax rates and reviewing infrastructure needs. Municipal utility district elected ocials are able to:

MUDelections see surge in candidate interest Interest in the boards governing nine municipal utility districts in The Woodlands resulted in 49 candi- dates seeking positions this year. The nonpartisan boards carry BY VANESSA HOLT “We know the ongoing community debate over groundwater and surface water has heightened public aware- ness on our future water sources,” WWA General Manager Jim Stinson said in an email. Other topics, such as subsid-

“They are simply concerned residents of The Woodlands, willing to step forward to ensure the MUD boards look to the interests of the community, both residents and developers,” he said. Byers said several issues prompting candidate interest are the boards’ ability to issue bonds and public debt as well as the lack of public broad- casting of MUD meetings. Representatives of The Woodlands Water Agency, which acts as a coor- dinating agency for the boards, said topics of interest among candidates typically include groundwater and surface water rates in the districts. The wholesale rates charged by the San Jacinto River Authority in scal year 2021-22 for groundwater are $2.88 per 1,000 gallons for groundwater and $3.30 per 1,000 gallons for surface water, increasing since 2018-19 from $2.64 and $2.83, respectively. Those costs are passed on through the MUDs to consumers.

Address taxpayer and ratepayer concerns

out functions such as setting retail and sewer rates as well as levying tax rates to nance infrastructure. Typically, tax rates in water districts become lower over time as they repay debt, according to the Texas Com- mission on Environmental Quality, which supervises water districts through the Texas Water Code. A total of 22 contested positions are available on the boards for The Woodlands MUD No. 1 and Montgom- ery County MUD Nos. 6, 7, 36, 39, 46, 47, 60 and 67. James Byers, Precinct 24 chair for the Montgomery County Republican Party, said in an email that although the candidates are nonpartisan, he is assisting some of them with their campaigns.

Approve changes to WWA policies and procedures

ence—or ground sinkage as a result of groundwater withdrawal—have also motivated interest, he said. Fault line activity has been associated with increased subsidence. Flooding, drainage, water rates, transparency and the topic of using bonds rather than cash to fund infrastructure needs are also topics which engage constituents, Stinson said. Byers said he believes this is the rst time all of the MUD positions have been contested in an election in The Woodlands since the rst ones formed in 1976. Election day is May 7. Early voting will begin April 25 and end May 3.

Elect ocers and trustees

Review budget; set retail water, sewer and tax rates Review infrastructure

maintenance and repair needs Review wholesale water and sewer rates Review groundwater reduction budget and surface water rates Prepare annual nancial report for the MUD SOURCE: THE WOODLANDS WATER AGENCY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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