Conroe, June 6 – On May 9, 2015, Montgomery County voters headed to the polls and soundly defeated a road bond referendum 57.19% to 42.81%, largely because disgraced former County Judge Craig Doyal and liberal Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley insisted on including the extraordinarily unpopular extension of Woodlands Parkway from F.M. 2978 westward to State Highway 249. Voters, particularly in Commissioners Precincts 3 (The Woodlands) and 2 (Magnolia) came the voting polls in droves to defeat the unpopular road proposal.
Riley has repeated assured Montgomery County citizens since he, Doyal, and the County government suffered the embarrassing bond referendum defeat that he has no intention whatsoever of ever constructing the Woodlands Parkway Extension. Instead, Riley has said that he intends to construct an east-west corridor from May Valley approximately one-third of a mile south of the intersection of Woodlands Parkway and F.M. 2978. That construction, of course, will greatly benefit one of Riley’s largest political contributors, real estate developer Tim Weems.
Despite lacking voter approval and largely keeping the project a secret, Doyal, then as a failing Precinct 2 County Commissioner who failed to move forward with vital mobility project needs elsewhere in Commissioners Precinct 2 during his 12 year tenure as a Commissioner, and Riley, as his mess of an Operations Manager, spent a fortunate of all sorts of expenditures on the Woodlands Parkway Extension.
As early as November 20, 2008, seven years before the bond referendum, through October 9, 2014, a mere seven months before the County government’s failed election, Doyal and Riley led Montgomery County taxpayers to spend at least $990,662 on the Woodlands Parkway Extension project.
The Commissioners Court approved every single expenditure by a unanimous vote. Doyal made most of the motions, while Precinct 3 County Commissioner Ed Chance seconded most of them. Nevertheless, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador participated in several of the motions as well.
It was a spending free-for-all except, of course, for Montgomery County taxpayers who paid for engineering services, rights of way acquisitions, appraisal services, surveying services, an alignment study, utility relocation services paid to utility companies, and relocation payments to individuals who lived at the acquired right-of-way properties the County purchased through voluntary sales or by eminent domain.
County taxpayers paid for primary engineering contracts as well as numerous change orders, which the Commissioners Court approved every time.
In accordance with longstanding practice of approving contracts, change orders, and proposals blindly, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved almost all of the expenditures without any review of the documents, the reasonableness of the charges, or the propriety or necessity of the services. Among the expenditures were the purchase of two dozen parcels of property for the crazed road project which never, of course, came to fruition and which hadn’t even received voter approval for the financing at the time of all of the expenditures.
Interestingly, beloved former Montgomery County Judge Alan B. Sadler never made any of the motions and does not appear to have voted for any of expenditures. Sadler seemed to have abstained on all of the votes.
Kenny Speight, the insurance agent who ran for Chance’s seat and lost to James Noack in the 2014 Republican Runoff Election, acted as a Special Commissioner in some of the eminent domain proceedings. Former County Judge Al Stahl also acted as a Special Commissioner.