Finance expert Grice suggests undecided citizens will determine Woodlands incorporation issues

Chris Grice (right) and Gay Lynn Grice (left) enjoy their life in The Woodlands.

Chris Grice, Guest Columnist

I’d like to offer some observations on the Township to City Discussion. It appears there are three groups alined in the decision to become a city.

The first group is on the side of becoming a city sooner rather than later. Their stated reasons are being more control of our own destiny and having more power than the Township form of government currently gives has. Examples of such powers that we’d have as a city, rather than a Township, are our own police department and ability to make ordinances to mention a few. This will come at a price yet to be determined and is currently under study by the Township board.

The second group is more about leaving things as they are, at least in the foreseeable future. Many in this group believe we have the best of both worlds. We are self governing and yet we do not have to provide all the services that becoming a city would require and at the cost of those services. We know what we have under the Township form of government and the cost. That said, though, the Township form of government is limited in its scope, and there are services and powers that it does not allow.

My observation of these two groups is one is “do it now” and the other is “do it later.”

The third group are the undecided or just not yet engaged.

The immediate question is not so much about avoiding annexation now by doing it now rather than waiting. Under our agreement with the cities of Houston and Conroe, as long as we honor our contract, they cannot annex us till 2057.

The immediate questions are: are the majority of the citizens content with the services, cost, and powers the Township form of government provides or are they willing to pay the yet-to-be-determined price of being a city to gain the control of more of our services and corresponding powers that a city can provide. Both forms of government have their pluses and minuses.

The current Township board is tasked with gathering all the information to provide the citizens to make an informed decision. The ultimate decision to incorporate will be up to we the citizens.

I believe the final decision will be made by group three when it is all said and done. They will have to become engaged and educate themselves on the merits of the questions at hand.

Chris Grice, a graduate with a degree in Finance from Mississippi State University, was a Vice President of JPMorganChase Bank and a Senior Vice President of Amegy Bank before he retired. He currently is an elected Board member of the Montgomery County Hospital District. Grice and his family live in The Woodlands.

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