Lake Conroe: The State and County Government Forum

 by: Wayne Stroman CIPS, TRC, President, Stroman Realty, Inc.

The event was held Wednesday, July 29, 2009 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Montgomery High School Auditorium in Montgomery TX. Issues discussed by local legislators and public officials included taxation, transportation, water conservation, and annexation.

Robert Nichols Brandon Creighton Alan Sadler Mike Meador

Robert Nichols Brandon Creighton Alan Sadler Mike Meador

The four panelists were:

Montgomery County Judge, Alan Barb Sadler
Texas State Senator, Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville
Texas State Representative, Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
Montgomery County Commissioner, Precinct 1, Mike Meador

It was sponsored by the LAKE CONROE COMMUNITIES NETWORK (LCCN), a Texas non-profit corporation. It was recently put together by concerned citizens in the area. Their mission statement says “To help protect and enhance the quality of life and development of the Lake Conroe area through community influence and sharing of information.” They formed a Board of Directors in November 2007 and adopted By-laws. Their website is www.LakeConroeCN.com.

Texas will double in size by 2050 to about 46 million persons and Montgomery County will need more water. About 60% of the current usage in Montgomery County is used for irrigation. Conroe uses near to 25% and the Woodlands uses 50% of the county’s ground water. Ground water is water we pump from the ground and we are consuming more now than the aquifers can produce. We have reached our aquifer’s ability to replenish and now some area wells have to be drilled deeper to find adequate supply for our current usage.

The alternative is to treat surface water. I am a member of the Lake South Water Supply Corporation on Lake Conroe and in conversations at their meetings I remember that it may cost as high as 10 times well water pumping costs to treat surface water and make it potable. Only the SJRA or Lone Star Groundwater Conservation Districts can build surface water treatment plants.

Senator Robert Nichols said “If 100,000 acre feet of water is taken from Lake Conroe annually for use, the lake level should only drop about four and a half feet. In an effort to conserve water Montgomery County residents should begin adopting rain water containment and reuse systems for their homes. We should incentivize this type of conservation system development not penalize or require its adoption.”

The Montgomery County budget last year was about $200,000,000 and this year $211,000,000. So there was hardly an increase considering substantial growth in the county and cost increases. Judge Sadler said “He was very proud of every department of the county government for working together to cut expenses and there were no raises given. He said that as long as he is our county judge he will not raise taxes.”

State Representative Brandon Creighton said appraisals were the number one area of concerns for most of his constituents. Many Texas areas are not growing but about 15 counties are growing at an unprecedented rate. The appraisal cap is one of the most contested issues in Texas government. State income tax is off the table and we now have franchise taxes to fill the void.

It was noted that Assessed values have increase mostly on land.

Judge Sadler said “He agreed that “appraisal caps” is the most controversial issue but in Montgomery County we are for appraisal caps.”  Montgomery County supports a proposed 3% appraisal cap.

On transportation Commissioner Mike Meador said “For years we have been working on how to best utilize the county’s road funds for the maximum benefit to the residents. He remarked “When he took office the previous commissioners had never built a road from bonding funds, we only did repair and resurfacing roads with funds from the county budget.” He has about 1 million to maintain and repair our county’s roads.

“We knew we had another 1960 issue heading our way in the form of Highway 1488 and we needed several other road improvement programs. We needed to raise millions to meet the growing transportation needs of our area. Commissioner’s court promoted and passed the 160 million bond issue to get us there. The funds are to be split evenly amongst the different precincts.” Now several projects have started that will help us get ahead of the curve to solve the issue of our county.” The estimate was 219 million to complete these roads. The balance was picked up by state and federal funds. Most all of these projects are now underway and will be completed by 2012. Meador went on to say that “Soon we will be realizing the payback by these completed road projects.”

Senator Nichols says “We are looking at toll roads because it frees up space on existing roads.” He also said “We are looking at an amendment to prevent the Texas legislature from diverting funds for road issues.”

Representative Creighton said that “Annexation is on the horizon for some areas from municipalities and they have the right to do so. Their approval must be decided at the poles. The value of the services brought by them increases the quality of life for residents in those affected areas. These issues will be studied further”

San Jacinto River Authority Lake Conroe Storage

I was talking to Ben Richardson, a director of the Lake Conroe Association, LCA and owner of The Palms Marina off of Hwy 830 in Willis at the meeting about what water levels might be if Houston drew down the levels 4.5 feet to treat the water and supliment the Houston supply. He said “After your comment on the average depth of the lake and what 4.5′ of drawdown would do, you were right on regarding more than 25% of the volume. The average depth according to the SJRA is 20.5′, but the top of the lake has more area and volume than the bottom.” In his email to me he said “Attached is something that my dad was given before the lake was filled by the engineering company employed by the SJRA before the dam was finished. I thought you would be interested in having it. I have attached the document here for you to examine.” You can get news about the lake from the LCA at their website: www.LakeConroeAssociation.com

Area water supply is a Hot Topic now and probably will be in the future along with roads and taxes. The meeting was well run by the LCCN and many thanks go out to them to help bring this information to the community. They are looking for new members to help support their cause. You can get more information at their website: www.LakeConroeCN.com

Wayne Stroman CIPS, TRC, President, Stroman Realty, Inc. 

Houston Association of REALTORS®, Vice Chair 

Your Lake Conroe Area Specialist!

CIPS Resort REALTOR Logo 2008 Transnational Referral Certification

Highway 105 near the Lake Conroe Dam: http://www.Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com

Houston Association of REALTORS®, 2009 Vice Chair

Mail to: POB 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305

Deliveries to: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304

Office: 936-588-4444

Fax:    936-588-4884

Contact Stroman Realty toll free at: 1-800-733-8846

Certified International Property Specialist by the National Association of REALTORS®

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1 comment to Lake Conroe: The State and County Government Forum

  • The Texas drought of 2009 should get everyone’s attention when it comes to water conservation. I have recently thought of a rain water containment system for my home to use in irrigating the lawn instead of using potable water. The hurdle for that type of innovation for most folks will be getting their homeowners associations to cooperate in setting reasonable standards for rain water containment systems – for those rare moments when it does rain!

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