The Woodlands Township Board met on Wednesday for a regular meeting, hearing several reports and also deferring a decision on a homestead tax exemption for the time being.
Homestead tax exemption on hold til August
Township Director John McMullan had placed the issue of a proposed homestead tax exemption on the board’s agenda late last week, irritating fellow board member, Director Bruce Rieser, who said he and other board members did not have time to review the proposal, let alone be able to vote on an idea that carries such a massive possible financial impact.
Citing the unknown costs of the increase in trash collection services as well as several other budget-related issues, Rieser demanded the issue be tabled until August when the township hosts four or five days of budget planning meetings.
“I think this is a good idea, and we should talk about it more,” Rieser said, noting that he is open to analyzing the proposal.
McMullan, who was acting as the board’s chairman for the meeting due to the absence of Gordy Bunch, said the township has an estimated combined $27.5 million in various reserve accounts, and if directors do not put the incorporation issue on the November 2020 ballot or residents vote against incorporating, then that money could be used to give township the ability to grant a 10 percent homestead tax exemption to every homeowner in the community.
The issue will now be discussed in August.
Alight tax abatement shifted
The ongoing saga of the tax abatment for Alight Solutions, a human resources focused business with more than 900 employees in The Woodlands, finally came to an end on Wednesday when directors approved in a 3-2 vote the transfer of the abatement from The Woodlands Development Co. to a shell company owned by Howard Hughes Corp., to 8770 New Trails Holding Co.
The vote did not include township board Chairman Gordy Bunch, who was in Canada but had previously recused himself from any discussion of the issue due his ownership of stock in Alight’s parent company, or Director John Anthony Brown, who also recused himself because his wife is an employee of Alight.
The issue has drawn criticism from township Director John McMullan, who voted no on the issue again, who has said he does not believe the township should grant financial breaks to massive corporations.
The abatement stems from Alight moving its offices, currently located on Technology Forest Boulevard, to a four-story office complex that is currently beginning to be constructed on a lot at the intersection of New Trails Drive and Research Forest Drive. Local residents in the Founder’s Reserve neighborhood have protested the development, but since the community is technically not located inside the boundaries of The Woodlands, they have had no success in getting assistance from the township board in delaying or halting the project.