Conroe - Montgomery Edition - May 2022

CONROE MONTGOMERY EDITION

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2  MAY 13JUNE 16, 2022

ONLINE AT

Food trucks, venues on the rise in Conroe, Montgomery

Average market value:

A JUMP IN VALUES The average market value rose nearly 30% countywide from 2021 to 2022 after single-digit percent increases in the six years prior. Although market values surged, state law caps the rise in appraised value at 10% annually. Terms to know: MARKET VALUE What the property is worth as of Jan. 1 APPRAISED (ASSESSED) VALUE The taxable value before exemptions TAXABLE VALUE The appraised value after exemptions

$338,117

2021 2020 2022

Homes within

$352,722

MONTGOMERY ISD: +34.3% from 2021-22

$473,833

BY MAEGAN KIRBY

The number of food trucks in Texas increased 55.77% from 2017-20, according to County Business Pattern data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and city ocials said the Conroe and Montgomery areas have beneted from the business food trucks and food truck venues have created locally. With three food truck parks recently opened in Montgomery, Conroe and Willis, a number of food trucks have found their home in the area. Along with requiring lower startup costs for prospective business owners, food truck owners said they believe food trucks have been a good dining option for customers during the pandemic, oering an alternative to sit- down dining. CONTINUED ON 26

+27.4% CONROE ISD Homes within from 2021-22

Average market value:

$322,091 $313,633

2021 2020 2022

$410,464

SOURCE: MONTGOMERY CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Property values spike countywide Property owners in Montgomery County said they are concerned about how high property taxes will be this fall after seeing a sharp rise in their homes’ market value this spring. for the upcoming scal year, Tammy McRae, Mont- gomery County’s chief tax assessor-collector, said at an April 21 tax workshop she believes lower tax rates are needed to compensate. BY KAYLI THOMPSON

“When values go high, tax rates need to go down,” McRae said. “You need to pay attention to that because this year more than ever, most tax rates need to be coming down.” Montgomery County Chief Appraiser Tony Beli- noski said all property is appraised at its full market value as of Jan. 1. Notices are sent to homeowners in the spring with a market value and appraised CONTINUED ON 24

The average market value of properties in Mont- gomery County spiked 29.8% from 2021-22, accord- ing to data from the Montgomery Central Appraisal District. In comparison, the average market value for properties with homestead exemptions has increased no more than 11% year over year inMont- gomery County since 2011. As local taxing entities begin budget discussions

Frank Jackson (left) opened The Table at Madeley venue in April. (Maegan Kirby/Community Impact Newspaper)

LAKE CONROE FISHING ADVENTURES

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IMPACTS

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

EDUCATION

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

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THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMCHRISSY: Homeowners have all received their property tax notices in the mail, and if you’re like me, you probably went into shock after opening it. Our front-page story (see Pages 24-25) explains the appraisal process along with proposed ideas from local ocials to provide tax relief, such as having the chief appraiser be an elected ocial. Chrissy Leggett, GENERALMANAGER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMANNA: Our mission statement declares we exist, partly, to build communities of thriving businesses. One way we do this is through our new business announcements (see Pages 6-7). In this issue, we also dive into the recent trend of food trucks and food truck parks popping up locally. Read how this newer business model is catching on in Conroe and Montgomery (see Pages 26-27). Anna Lotz, SENIOR EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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149

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1097

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MONTGOMERY

LAKE CONROE

LONE STAR PKWY.

COCHRAN ST.

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COLLEGE ST.

PHILLIPS ST.

830

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Forged 86

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COURTESY FORGED 86

SIMONTON ST.

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1999 Lakes of Wedgewood Drive, Conroe, on April 21. The state-of-the-art com- passionate care living facility includes Worthington Manor Assisted Living and The Lodge at Worthington Manor Memo- ry Care. Worthington Manor includes 72 assisted-living apartments and 46 memory care beds with amenities such as a full-service bar, dining areas, an exercise studio, an art studio, a game room, a library, a poker room, a dine-in movie theater, a full-service spa, a dog park and a demonstration kitchen for culinary classes. 936-213-0550. www.worthingtonmanorseniorliving.com 5 Bu City Soap opened its Conroe location at 247 S. Loop 336 W., Ste. 300, on May 2, according to the business. The store will have its grand opening May 19. Bu City specializes in homemade, plant- based soaps. www.bucitysoap.com 6 Crust Pizza Co. had a grand opening March 11 at 15258 Hwy. 105, Ste. 130, Montgomery. The restaurant features outdoor seating; live music; and dierent styles of pizzas, sandwiches, pastas and salads. 936-588-0892. www.crustpizzaco.com 7 Sydney Waters opened Healing Waters Massage & Bodyworks in April at 401 College St., Montgomery. The busi- ness oers a clean and safe environment with 60-minute, 90-minute or 2-hour hands-on massage therapy sessions avail- able to clients. 346-225-5661. www.watersmassagetherapy.com 8 Kustom Kart Pros was slated to have its grand opening in Woodforest on May 14 at 810 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 920, Montgomery, according to the business. The store sells a variety of golf carts and

MADELEY ST.

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LAKES OF WEDGEWOOD DR..

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1314

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WEST FORK SAN JACINTO RIVER

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2022 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 Forged 86 , a clothing and accessories store, opened at 20165 Eva St., Ste. H, Montgomery, on April 8, accord- ing to marketing manager and buyer Katie Stewart. The store sells a variety of clothing, accessories and gift items as well as shoes, such as cowboy boots, sneakers and sandals. 936-703-5234. www.forged86.com

2 Steve’s Dollar Saver is now open at 733 W. Davis St., Conroe. According to assistant manager Margarito Cruz, the store opened March 17. The store oers a variety of household items and snacks priced from $1-$5 and is providing infor- mation through an open Facebook group. Facebook: Steve’s Dollar Saver 3 Dragon Bowl C , a noodle restau- rant themed after the “Dragon Ball Z” anime, had its soft opening May 3 at

118 Simonton St., Conroe. Noodles avail- able include stir fry, ramen and pho, and the restaurant also has bubble tea, milk tea and dessert egg rolls. The owner en- courages people to look for the pink Buu, a character from “Dragon Ball Z,” statue outside the restaurant, which indicates it is open. 936-494-3824. www.facebook. com/dbcriceandnoodlebar 4 Senior living facility Worthington Manor celebrated its grand opening at

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY MAEGAN KIRBY, ANNA LOTZ & JISHNU NAIR

Pine Market Phase 3 is underway, including The Lofts at Pine Market.

Wister’s Bar & Grill oers an elevated bar menu in Montgomery.

COURTESY WHITE PARK MEDIA

RENDERING COURTESY TOTAL PR

services carts as well. 936-236-7191. www.kustomkartpros.com 9 Smo’Cain BBQ , a barbecue food truck, opened March 8 in Conroe, ac- cording to the business. The truck serves brisket, sausage, pulled pork and ribs along with sides such as mac and cheese and jalapeno poppers. The truck is often located at 711 Madeley St., Conroe, but its changing locations can be found on its website. 346-328-1578. www.smocainbbq.com 10 Texas Generator Solutions opened April 25 at 13786 B Hwy. 105, Conroe, according to owner Dustin Sorensen. The business oers sales, free quotes, in-home consultations, installation and servicing for standby generators. 936-588-9317. www.texasgensolutions.com FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON Phase 3 of Pine Market, located east of Pine Market Avenue and Sundown Stroll Drive in Woodforest, spans an estimated 70,000 square feet, including retail and The Lofts at Pine Market , and is estimated to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2022. The Lofts at Pine Market, the rst multifamily development in Woodforest, will feature oor plans ranging from 560-1,411 square

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN Owners Lee and Kristy Terrell celebrated the grand opening of Wister’s Bar & Grill on April 30 at 950 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 440, Montgomery. The eatery oers an elevated bar menu with entrees as well as wine and spirits. Wister’s Bar & Grill also oers specials, such as steak night on Thursdays, date night on Fridays and family activities each weekend. 936-588-5883. www.wistersbar.com ANNIVERSARIES 13 The Montgomery County-based Court Appointed Special Advocates celebrated its 30th anniversary April 27 and ocially celebrated the opening of its new headquarters at 505 N. Main St., Conroe. CASA child advocates are ap- pointed by judges to watch over abused and neglected children, according to the organization’s website. The group serves 100% of Montgomery County children taken in by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, according to its 2020 impact report. 936-441-5437. www.casaspeaks4kids.com 14 Frankenboltzzzz Brewing Co. cele- brated its one-year anniversary at 173 N. FM 1486, Montgomery, on April 2, according to the business. The local brewpub oers local in-house cider, wine,

feet for residents age 55 and older, according to an April 26 release. The 51 apartment units are expected to welcome tenants in July with rent

PINE MARKET AVE.

starting at $1,500 a month. www.liveatpinemarket.com

PINE MARKET AVE.

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COMING SOON 11 Hunger Crush Cafe will open in early June at 15250 Hwy. 105 W., Ste 160, Montgomery, according to owner Mike Kelton. Kelton said the restaurant will serve American food with an eclectic feel for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will also be a grab-n-go option. 936-224-7518 12 Lone Star Abbey , a community brewery, has plans to break ground in Montgomery in two to ve months and open at 15201 Walden Road, Montgom- ery, in 14-18 months, as of late April, according to the business. The brewery will feature a pet area, outdoor games, food trucks, and a natural playground with a treehouse and zip line built into the trees. 281-687-7391. www.facebook.com/lonestarabbey

craft beers and mead and oers activities such as bingo night, corn hole, dart night and board games. 936-242-4208. www.facebook.com/frankenboltzzzz NEWOWNERSHIP 15 Prime Bistro , formerly called Prime 101 Steakhouse, had its grand opening May 2 at 19786 Hwy. 105, Montgomery, to celebrate its new name and owner. Jennifer Daniel, the new owner and general manager, said she used to run another restaurant in Montgomery, but after the owner closed it, she saw her opportunity to partner with the owner of Prime 101 Steakhouse. Daniel said Prime Bistro also has a new chef who studied in Europe. 936-448-7809. www.primebistromontgomery.com

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

May & June events

COMPILED BY MAEGAN KIRBY

24 VOTE IN TEXAS PRIMARY RUNOFF ELECTIONS Early voting is from May 16-20, according to the Texas secretary of state’s oce, but residents can still get in their vote May 24. Residents who voted in a party primary in March can vote only in that same party’s runo, and residents who did not vote in the primary can vote in either party’s runo. https://elections.mctx.org 27 AND JUNE 10 SEE AMOVIE IN THE PARK The Conroe Parks and Recreation Department presents free screenings of “Encanto” on May 27 and “Cliord the Big Red Dog” on June 10. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs. 8:15 p.m. Free (admission). Heritage Place, 500 Metcalf St., Conroe. 936-522-3842. www.cityofconroe.org JUNE 04 THROUGH 5 ATTENDANANIME CONVENTION The Kimo Kawaii anime convention will feature a live battle of the bands, voice actors from “Dragon Ball Z,” voice- over recording opportunities, gaming tournaments and a cosplay contest. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (June 4), 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (June 5). $25-$50. Lonestar Convention and Expo Center, 9055 Airport Road, Conroe. www.kimokawaii.net 11 VOTE IN CONROE’S RUNOFF ELECTION The city of Conroe hosts a runo election for City Council Place 3 with candidates Harry Hardman and John Hernandez. Candidates William Waggoner and Meloney Turner vie for municipal judge. Early voting is May 31- June 3 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and June 6-7 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at April Sound Church and the Conroe City Council

chambers, according to the city. Election day voting will be from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at the council chambers. 936-522-3000. www.cityofconroe.org 11 THROUGH 12 ADMIRE EXOTIC PETS HERPS Exotic Reptile & Pet Show will have thousands of reptiles and amphibians to admire and feeders, supplies and other pet-related items for sale. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (June 11), 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (June 12). Free (age 4 and under), $5-$12. Lonestar Convention and Expo Center, 9055 Airport Road, Conroe. 979-595-7831. www.herpshow.net 18 SHOP ANARTISANMARKET The Summerfest Artisan Market at B52 Brewery will feature a variety of vendors selling handmade items. Noon-5 p.m. Free (admission). 12470 Milroy Lane, Conroe. www.texasartisanmarkets.com 18 ATTENDA CAR AND TRUCK SHOW Admire cars, trucks and 4x4s as they compete for awards, and enjoy music, food, vendors and a silent auction. 8-11 a.m. Free (admission), $30 (car or truck entry). Outlets at Conroe, I-45 and League Line Road, Conroe. www.conroecruisers.com 18 THROUGH 19 ATTENDA GUNAND KNIFE SHOW The High Caliber Gun and Knife Show will feature over 100 exhibitors. Attendees can buy, sell or trade items. Coins, books and camouage will also be for sale. Times vary. Free (age 12 and younger, law enforcement in uniform); $10 (admission). Lone Star Convention Center, 9055 Airport Road, Conroe. 281-412-4824. www.texasgunshows.com

MAY 2022

SHOPDISCOUNTEDCHILDREN’S ITEMS MONTGOMERY COUNTY FAIR GROUNDS

MAY 21 ATTENDMONSTER TRUCKWARS Monster Truck Wars will feature nationally known monster trucks battling it out as well as ATV wars between professional drivers. 1-3 p.m. $10-$30. Lonestar Convention and Expo Center, 9255 Airport Road, Conroe. 480-881-2375. www.monstertrucks.fun The Just Between Friends kids resale event will oer discounted clothing and shoes in sizes for infants to teens, toys, books and other baby-related items. Customers can shop items that are 50%-90% o. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (May 20), 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (May 21-22). Free (online ticket), $3 (at the door). 333 Airport Road, Conroe. www.thewoodlands.jbfsale.com

Find more or submit Conroe or Montgomery events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

Phone: 936-295-4488

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY MAEGAN KIRBY

ONGOING PROJECTS

UPCOMING PROJECTS

OLD MONTGOMERY DR.

TOWN PARK DR.

LAKE CONROE HILLS DR.

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FM 1097 widening The Texas Department of Transportation project to widen FM 1097 between Anderson Road and Lake Conroe Hills Drive was 53% complete as of an April 1 TxDOT report, the latest data available as of press time May 10. The project is widening FM 1097 from two to four lanes with a continuous turn lane in the Willis area. The project was awarded to contractor James Construction Group, according to TxDOT information. Cost: $14.69 million Timeline: February 2021-fourth quarter 2023 Funding sources: federal, state

North 6th Street rehabilitation Street rehabilitation on the North 6th Street area is underway with crews working at the intersections of North 6th Street and Browder and Pauline streets, according to the April 21 construction project status report from the city of Conroe. The project entails 6 miles of mill and asphalt overlay with minor drainage repairs. Cost: $1.25 million

South Loop 336 traffic signal upgrades Submittal review is underway for ap- proving traffic signal upgrades on South Loop 336 at River Pointe Drive as well as new traffic signal heads at Town Park Drive, according to an April 21 construc- tion project status report from the city of Conroe. The project was awarded to Third Coast Services LLC and is sched- uled to be complete in July. Cost: $237,664.15

FM 830 widening A public meeting will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. May 26 at Brabham Middle School, 10000 FM 830, Willis, and a presentation will be posted online May 26 regarding a proposed project that would widen FM 830 between Old Montgomery Road and Hwy. 75 from two lanes to four. Public com- ments must be received on or before June 13 by TxDOT. Visit www.txdot.gov and search “FM 830 from Old Mont- gomery” for further information. Cost: TBD Timeline: TBD Funding source: TBD

Timeline: April 18-July 2022 Funding source: city of Conroe

Timeline: April 15-July 2022 Funding source: city of Conroe

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 3. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT COMNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DEVELOPMENT BRIEFS

New communities around Conroe, Montgomery

COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ

ASGi Homes debutsMarieVillage in Conroe

CONDRA RD.

A front-porch community means homes include a front porch instead of a garage to encourage building relationships with neighbors, ASGi Marketing Manager Mario Morquecho said. Marie Village will also include picnic tables around the community and a green space for families to enjoy. ASGi Homes was established in 2016 by Bill Ellison with the mission to provide homes at a price similar or less than the average home rent, according to information from the company. Homes in the community are not sold to investors, Morquecho said.

Marie Village is a front-porch community in the works o Crockett Martin Road in Conroe by aordable homebuilder ASGi Homes, which is also based in Conroe. Marie Village held its rst homeowners event April 23 with more than 150 homeowners staking their “sold” signs on their home plots. The commu- nity will feature 400 homes when completed ranging from $120,000 to $180,000 and 615 square feet to 1,256 square feet, according to information from ASGi Homes. According to ASGi, the rst set of homes in the community was released in the rst quarter of 2022, and half of the community has been sold.

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Bill Ellison (left) is the founder of ASGi Homes.

COURTESY ASGI HOMES

1,080-acre community to be developed at FM1774, Hwy. 105 inPlantersville

840homes planned for newcommunity by The Signorelli Co. A master-planned community with 840 homes and space for a new Conroe ISD elementary school is in the works o Airport Road in Conroe with the rst homes expected to be available in late 2023. The Signorelli Co. announced plans to develop 256 acres northeast of the Lone Star Executive Airport in an April 28 news release. “Conroe continues to be a leading submarket in the Houston area for new home starts, making it an ideal location for our newest master-planned community,” said Je Dewese, senior vice president of the land division for The Signorelli Co., in the release. A groundbreaking for the unnamed community is slated for the third quarter of 2022, according

WILLIS WAUKEGAN RD.

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A 1,080-acre residential commu- nity with commercial space is in the works for the intersection of Hwy. 105 and FM 1774 in Plantersville, according to a May 2 release from NewQuest Properties, a commer- cial real estate rm. NewQuest Properties brokered a partnership agreement between landowner Butler Holdings Ltd. and High Meadow Development Co., which developed High Meadow Estates in Montgomery. “This transaction provides the depth to provide single-family homes in an area destined for growth and eventually higher-end commercial development in an emerging corridor,” NewQuest Properties Vice President Joe Burke said in the release. “This is a shared vision between the Butler

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to the release, and the community’s name, homebuilders and price ranges are expected to be provided later this year. According to the release, the new community will feature single- family homes with 40-, 45- and 50-foot-wide lots as well as 45 acres of preserved green space, lakes and recreational amenities. The CISD campus is also antici- pated to open in fall 2024. “We welcome the opportunity to bring this new home development to Conroe, along with a new school to support the district’s growth,” Dewese said.

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family, who has owned the land for more than 50 years, and the developer.” The new community will be developed in six phases, according to the release. The rst 126 lots ranging from 1-4 acres are already being marketed by High Meadow Development Co. The development will be about 2 miles north of the Hwy. 249 exten- sion from FM 1774 to Hwy. 105.

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

WATER

Conroemayor praises ‘victory’ in water usesuit; SJRAplans toappeal

LEGALWATERS The city of Conroe praised an April 21 opinion from the Ninth District Court of Appeals regarding a yearslong dispute with the San Jacinto River Authority.

2015

BY JISHNU NAIR

Montgomery County’s Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District enacted limits on groundwater pumping in 2008, before the ground- water district’s board was changed to an elected membership. The con- tracts would allow the SJRA to draw surface water from Lake Conroe, treat it, and sell it to cities and utilities in Montgomery County, according to the SJRA’s website. The Ninth District Court noted the SJRA could legally set rates that allowed it to repay bonds used to finance the GRP project. Case background According to the Ninth District Court’s opinion, the April 21 ruling stemmed from a March 2019 suit filed in Montgomery County’s 284th District Court against the SJRA by six private water and sewer companies: Quadvest, Woodland Oaks Utility, Everett Square, E.S. Water Consolida- tors, Utilities Investment Co. Inc. and T&WWater. The private companies alleged the SJRA had charged excessive pumping fees, violating the GRP contract provision requiring pumping fees to be set at a rate that neither benefited nor punished the consumer. The SJRA filed an appeal and a cross-claim against Conroe and Mag- nolia—although the cities were not named in the original suit, according to the Ninth District Court—in March 2020. The river authority asked for a waiver of the cities’ governmen- tal immunity—a legal protection from lawsuits in the Texas Local Government Code—alleging Conroe and Magnolia breached their GRP contracts for fiscal years 2017-20. In a press statement, Quadvest CEO Simon Siqueira celebrated the April 21 ruling. The six water and sewer companies were not named in the SJRA’s March 2020 cross-claim. “While Quadvest was not directly involved in this lawsuit, the results tell us what we have been saying for years—the cities of Montgomery County and Quadvest will resolve this water tax issue, and we will prevail,” Siqueira said. Quadvest also said in its statement

The Ninth District Court of Appeals in Beaumont issued an opinion April 21 upholding a lower court’s decision against the San Jacinto River Authority. The memorandum opinion, delivered by Judge Leanne Johnson, found the river authority failed to mediate with the cities of Conroe and Magnolia before filing suit to collect payments through its Groundwater Reduction Plan contracts. The opinion upheld a decision made in Montgom- ery County’s 284th District Court. Conroe Mayor Jody Czajkoski praised the decision in an April 27 statement. “This is a monumental victory for the water users of this city, and we are happy to say we have $4.8 million coming back to help, and your mayor and council will continue to fight for our customers,” he said. The SJRA confirmed in an emailed statement to Community Impact Newspaper on April 21 that the river authority will attempt an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. “We disagree with the court’s reasoning, and we’re obviously dis- appointed with the ruling because it just prolongs the process of collecting the unpaid amounts that are owed under the contract,” SJRA General Manager Jace Houston said. “We’ve been in discussions with Conroe for many years, and we will obviously continue those discussions while we appeal the court’s decision.” The SJRA is one of 10 river authori- ties created by the state Legislature to develop water supply and wastewater management in the San Jacinto River Basin, excluding Harris County. The SJRA is a nontaxing entity, according to its website. Conroe City Administrator Steve Williams said in an April 27 statement the $4.8 million in question could help the city continue its mainte- nance of its own water infrastructure. “The money could go straight back to improving the water and sewer systems and relieving the rate pressure for our customers,” Williams said in the April 27 statement. The Groundwater Reduction Plan contracts took effect in 2015 after

2016

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2015 The Groundwater Reduction Plan

contracts take effect after the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District placed limits on groundwater pumping in 2008.

2017

March 2019 Six private water and

sewer companies file suit in Montgomery County’s 284th District Court against the SJRA,

2018

alleging the ​SJRA charged excessive pumping fees.

March 2020 The SJRA files a cross claim

2019

alleging the cities of Conroe and Magnolia breached their GRP contracts for fiscal years 2017-20. March 2020 The Texas Supreme Court rules in a separate case filed by the city of Conroe that the SJRA’s GRP contracts were “incontestable and valid.” of Appeals upholds an earlier ruling from the 284th District Court that the SJRA failed to mediate with the cities of Conroe and Magnolia before filing suit to collect payments through its GRP contracts. The SJRA plans to appeal. April 21, 2022 The Ninth District Court

2020

2021

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SOURCES: SJRA, NINTH DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS, 284TH DISTRICT COURT/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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WATER City ofMontgomery begins discussingwater, wastewater expansion ahead of growth

BY MAEGAN KIRBY

“We’re in a good place right now, but we’re looking at [capacity] over the next several years, and we want to stay ahead of all the growth that’s coming in,” Tramm said. The expansion of Water Plant No. 3 will be completed by mid-May, but Tramm said there is a need for water capacity on the west side of the city, where a new water plant and possible elevated storage tank may be added. Engineer Chris Roznovsky, who has been working with the city on the 15-year infrastructure plan including water and wastewater needs, said in an email that a new water plant would cost around $5.75 million, but he does not expect construction to begin for at least 18 months as the project is still in the planning stage. A new wastewater plant would cost around $8 million depending on its size and location, he said, and funding for the wastewater plant has not yet been determined. Funds could be provided by impact fees

The city of Montgomery has begun expanding the city’s water and waste- water capacity with an expansion wrapping up for Water Plant No. 3, a possible new water plant, and a potential new wastewater plant or expansion of an existing one also needed, city officials said. City Administrator Richard Tramm said the projects are in response to growth in the city as officials seek to stay on top of water capacity before the expected growth requires more capacity for the city’s infrastructure. “It looks like we will more than double in population in five or six years,” Tramm said. He said the city’s wastewater use has reached 45% of its capacity, while water use is at 35%-40% of capacity. The state requires a municipality to begin planning for plant expansion once use reaches 75% of capacity. To plan for growth, Tramm said the city is discussing expansion options on top of ongoing projects.

Current use of maximum capacity

Demand for water The city of Montgomery will finish an expansion of Water Plant No. 3 in May and is looking to expand its capacity for both water and wastewater. The city has two existing wastewater plants. Cost of potential new plants:

WATER

WASTEWATER

35%- 40%

45%

State requires planning to begin at 75% capacity.

WATER: WASTEWATER:

$5.75 million

$8 million

SOURCE: CITY OF MONTGOMERY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

paid by developers, bonds or other funding sources such as the Texas Water Development Board. Roznovsky said the city is looking at an old water plant site the city already owns and maintains a permit for, located on FM 149 just south of Lone Star Parkway. Tramm said the

new water and wastewater plants are anticipated to be active and in production in three to four years and three to 3 1/2 years, respectively. “At the moment, we have plenty of excess capacity, but we also have a lot of developments coming in over the next several years,” Tramm said.

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ELECTIONRESULTS

Results of May 7 elections in Conroe, Montgomery

Local elections for city council and school board seats were held May 7. Conroe will hold a runo election June 11 with early voting May 31-June 3 and June 6-7. RE SU LT S BREAKDOWN

Montgomery ISDbond passes for $326.9M; voters approve PropositionA inWillis ISD

CITY COUNCIL, PLACE 4

56.86% Howard Wood 43.14% Raymond McDonald

CITY COUNCIL, PLACE 5

50.45% Marsha Porter 49.55% Susan Johnson

BY ANNA LOTZ

Unocial results from the Montgomery County elections oce show the three Montgomery ISD bond propositions totaling $326.9 million passed. Proposition A, which includes a new elementary school and Lake Creek High School expansion among other projects, received 64.39% support. Proposition B for athletics renovations was supported by 57.42% of votes. Proposition C for new technology devices passed with 65.23% of votes. “We’re just very, very grateful to our community. ... Our community really supports us in amazing ways, and tonight’s just another example of that,” Superin- tendent Heath Morrison said in a phone interview on election night. Morrison said the district will prioritize planning for new campuses and facility upgrades. In Willis ISD, 55.89% of voters approved Proposi- tion A—funding a newmiddle school, a new elemen- tary school and other projects. However, propositions B and C—calling for a football stadium and natato- rium, respectively— failed with a narrowmargin of 51.37% opposed and 50.54% opposed, respectively, results show. All results are unocial until canvassed.

Incumbent

Headed to runo RUNOFF

Winner

MONTGOMERY

CONROE

MAYOR

MUNICIPAL JUDGE

55.45% Byron Sanford 44.55% Julie Davis

26.31% William Waggoner 25.46% Meloney Turner 22.13% Michael Valdez 18.42% Kevin M. Kneisley

CITY COUNCIL, PLACE 2

51.99% Casey L. Olson 48.01% Kevin Lacy

7.68% Oscar Sommers

CITY COUNCIL, PLACE 4

CITY COUNCIL, PLACE 3

56.11% Cheryl Fox 43.89% Juanita Simmons

43.83% Harry Hardman 19.58% John Hernandez 15.37% Carl White 13.17% Brandon Polk

MONTGOMERY ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES, POSITION 7

56.21% Nate Robb 43.79% Gary Hammons

8.04% Larry Calhoun

SOURCES: MONTGOMERY COUNTY ELECTIONS OFFICE, CITY OF CONROECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

EDUCATION Conroe ISDplans for salary increases to stay competitive among area districts

ONE-TIME RAISES Conroe ISD budgeted $13.3 million in 2022-23 for raises for all employees as well as one-time stipends of $1,500 throughout that school year funded through federal relief funds.

BY VANESSA HOLT

district had planned for raises in the next school year, Rice said subse- quent raises may not immediately be possible. “It’s going to be up to our Legis- lature to vote to put more money into the system to allow us to give employee raises,” he said regard- ing the state’s funding formula for districts. In addition to the raises, the board approved a total of $1,500 in one- time stipends for each employee through the federal Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund to be paid $500 in the fall and $1,000 in the spring. Rice said the stipends rep- resent $10 million of the $31 million available through ESSER III, the third round of awards given to districts for COVID-19-related relief in 2020-21. The board workshop included a presentation by Jennifer Barton, a representative of the Texas

Conroe ISD has approved several salary increases for the 2022-23 school year, but officials said future raises may require legislative action for the district to budget the neces- sary funds. At a special meeting of the CISD board of trustees April 5, the board unanimously approved an employee pay plan presented at a workshop earlier that afternoon. The plan includes a $1,500 pay increase for teachers, a 2% increase for nonteachers and starting pay for hourly employees beginning at $13 per hour as well as a new teacher starting salary of $60,000. Officials said the raises will help to keep the district competitive. The total of $13.3 million in salary increases will be funded through the general budget, CISD Chief Financial Officer Darrin Rice said. While the

Raises: $13.3M

Raises are funded from the general budget.

2% raises for all nonteacher employees

$60,000 starting salary for teachers

$13/hour minimum for hourly employees, an increase from $12/hour

$1,500 increase for teachers

The stipends for all employees are funded from federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds.

Stipends: $10M

$500 (fall) + $1,000 (spring) stipends for all district employees in 2022-23

SOURCE: CONROE ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Association of School Boards. The TASB compared CISD’s pay plans and made recommendations, including the suggestion to institute a general pay increase and continue to monitor its compensation plans. She said the district is “very competitive” within its group for

teacher pay. In the 2021-22 school year, teachers’ salaries in CISD were $700 above the local market median of $58,500. Among the group of school districts used for comparison in the region are Aldine, Cy-Fair, Klein, Montgomery, New Caney, Spring and Tomball ISDs.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News fromMontgomery & Conroe ISDs

Montgomery ISDapproves $2,000 raise for teachers

BY ANNA LOTZ

Lynn said April 19 that MISD has made it a priority to give the greatest pay increase and stipend possible while maintaining a balanced budget. The starting teacher salary will also increase to $56,200 for the 2022-23 school year, he said. District data for 2021-22 shows the salary was $54,450. “Is it where we want to be? No. Is it a significant improvement to where we were? Absolutely,” Lynn said. He said prior to a compensation review in 2021, the starting salary for teachers was $51,000. “At every level, whether you were a teacher, a paraprofessional, an administrator [or] a bus driver, we were starting to not be as competitive in the salary market as we would like to be,” Lynn said.

PAY CHANGES Montgomery ISD trustees approved pay changes in March and April.

MONTGOMERY ISD The Montgom- ery ISD board of trustees voted April 19 to approve the compensation package for the upcoming 2022-23 school year, which includes a $2,000 raise for teachers and an approximately 3% raise on the midpoint value for staff. Kris Lynn, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said during the April 19 meeting the increase in pay is in addition to employee incen- tive stipends previously approved. The district approved its employee incentive plan for fiscal year 2022-23 on March 22. Incentives include $1,000 paid to employees who return for the 2022-23 school year as well as an additional $500 stipend for employees in hard-to-fill positions, Lynn said.

$2,000 $1,000 $500

raise for teachers incentive for returning employees additional incentive for hard-to-fill positions

MONTGOMERY ISD STUDENTS GET HANDS-ON TRAINING On April 20, over 700 Montgomery High School students participated in the hands-on portion of Stop the Bleed training, a national campaign from the American College of Surgeons that teaches members of the community how to render aid to victims in traumatic events, such as car crashes, fires and shootings. Students learned how to apply direct pressure for bleeding, how to pack a wound and how to apply a tourniquet. “Because of issues that we’ve had in previous years at other schools with Columbine and Sandy Hook, I think it’s important that [the students] all realize that this can really happen; this can happen here,” said Tonya Cooper, a teacher at Montgomery High School and a nurse. Randy Gauny, director of trauma services at HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe, said the program aims to provide training to anyone who wants to learn how to save a life. Conroe ISD trustees Will meet at 6 p.m. May 17 and June 21 at 3205 W. Davis St., Conroe 936-709-7752 • www.conroeisd.net Montgomery ISD trustees Will meet at 6 p.m. May 17 and June 21 at 20774 Eva St., Montgomery 936-276-2000 • www.misd.org MEETINGSWE COVER

3% raise on the midpoint value for other staff

Starting teacher salary upped to from $54,450 $56,200

SOURCE: MONTGOMERY ISD/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CISDeyes virtual school

REMOTE LEARNING PLANS A virtual or hybrid school offering remote instruction could be funded by federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. Grades: 5-8

BY VANESSA HOLT

CONROE ISD The district took the first step toward the creation of a virtual hybrid school offering remote instruc- tion for the 2022-23 school year at an April 19 meeting. The board approved a resolution to submit an application to the Texas Education Agency for a campus number for a vir- tual hybrid school, which is required to open new schools. “Last year we started the process, but the bill ... didn’t get passed in May, so we ended up not doing the program,” said CISD Deputy Superintendent Chris Hines, referring to state legislation to enable the formation of virtual schools. However, when Senate Bill 15 was signed into law during a special session in September, it created an option for Texas school districts to create one year of a virtual or hybrid school in 2022-23, he said. Hines said $1.5 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds would be allocated for the program. The school would include fifth through eighth

Funding: $1.5 million in ESSER funds Academic year: 2022-23

Maximum enrollment: 60 students per grade

SOURCE: CONROE ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

grades with a maximum enrollment of 60 per grade level and an application process based on attendance, engage- ment and academic success, Hines said. The dedicated program would consist of full-time teachers possibly supplemented with part-time teachers for electives, Hines said. Through SB 15, a virtual school campus number would expire Sept. 1, 2023, after which time new legislation would be needed to continue virtual instruction, according to meeting materials.

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • MAY 2022

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