After votes are tallied in a Tuesday election to decide if the governance model in The Woodlands will change, the board that might become the new governing entity will decide how to collect its revenue from sales taxes throughout the community.

Early voting has already begun for three propositions - to expand the boundaries of the Town Center Improvement District, to reconfigure its board of directors and to impose a property tax - giving voters the option of remaining as is or choosing to be governed by one board of directors instead of three. One of the biggest arguments for the expansion of the TCID, proponents say, is the ability the board has to collect sales taxes. The TCID collects 1 cent of every dollar spent in Town Center.

The district also collects an added cent for every dollar spent within four economic development zones. That revenue is dedicated to special projects, like the expansion of The Woodlands Mall and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. If voters pass the propositions, the TCID board will also have to decide whether to roll all of those EDZs into one or establish a fifth EDZ to collect sales taxes in the expanded areas throughout The Woodlands. Nelda Luce Blair, chairwoman of the TCID board of directors, said either way, the monies collected in current economic development zones will continue to be earmarked for those projects. ""The whole bottom line is what is best economically,"" she said. ""It won't affect people if we have a fifth EDZ or if we roll it all into one ... but economically, from a standpoint of administering those zones, it makes sense to roll them into one."" Currently, sales tax is only collected in the 1,000 acres the TCID oversees.

However, if residents vote to shift the form of governance from three homeowners association groups -- which provide community services through the levy of assessments -- to the TCID, which can collect sales, hotel occupancy and, if Proposition 3 passes, property taxes, it can collect up to 2 cents for every dollar spent in The Woodlands. The TCID board will host a public hearing at 9 a.m. Nov. 16 - 10 days after residents vote for or against the new form of governance - at the district's offices, located at 10001 Woodloch Forest Drive, Suite 600, to allow residents to comment on the establishment of a possible fifth economic development zone. Blair believes collecting a property tax throughout The Woodlands will equal a reduction in property assessments and property taxes for residents. Financial figures from the TCID indicate the sales taxes will offset residents' expenses by 15 percent the first year and 31 percent thereafter.

However, critics of the propositions said they believe that may not happen by the TCID establishing a fifth zone. They said residents fear the added sales taxes will be used to fund commercial projects rather than resident services.

""The original plan as I understood it is to collect everything in one economic development zone, and that extra penny would go toward defraying expenses for residential services, such as the fire department and parks and recreation,"" said Cheryl Crandall Tangen, a board member on The Woodlands Community Association who helped found The WoodlandskNOw, which opposes the propositions.

" Posted by Tamborrel Bulox Team on
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