The Baytown Sun ran an article recently stating that “three area governments will have elections at the May 2 General Election” ... referring to Barbers Hill ISD, City of Mont Belvieu and City of Anahuac.
In fact there are at least five other area governments with a combined 15 positions up for election this May, only four of which are held by Baytown residents. These are, of course, the Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) that are scattered about Baytown. Some have been around a while, some are fairly new; some are in-city limits, some are out of city limits; but they all try to operate quietly in the background.
Nearly 15,000 Baytonians live in a MUD district. The MUD is the second largest portion of a homeowner’s tax bill (behind school taxes). The out of city MUD boards choose who picks up your trash and how much to charge you for water service.
A MUD governed by residents of the community can serve that community well. Who is being served by a MUD that is governed by people placed by the law firm and developer?
If you live in a MUD, get involved. It could literally save you tens of thousands of dollars in taxes. If you have questions, please ask, I am more than happy to help!
Filing deadline is Feb. 14.
Chambers County MUD 1 - Pine Meadows, Hunters Chase, Country Meadows
CCMUD1 has three positions open and no residents on board. Recently took on Kilgore developments as part of MUD that will extend term of MUD and existing residents will have to help pay those debts. Out-of-city MUD but City of Baytown has been interested in annexing these areas. Kelly Riggs is working to get three board members lined up here.
Harris County MUD 213-B - Goose Creek Landing
HCMUD213B is relatively new, fast growing community. Three positions open, no residents on board. A great opportunity to get involved and make smart decisions now to save homeowners thousands in taxes.
Harris County MUD 459 - Hunters Creek, Goose Creek Reserve
Two positions open, both of which are currently held by non-residents. HCMUD459 board was taken over by residents two years ago, since that time the tax rate has been lowered from $0.80 to $0.72.
Spring Meadows MUD - Preston Place, Springfield
Three positions open, no resident board members. Board sets water/sewer/trash rates and has decided the law firm running the MUD is worth $200,00 a year, four times what Lake MUD pays their law firm (Lake MUD is twice the size of Spring Meadows).
Lake MUD - Highlands Ranch, Meadowlake Village, West Meadows and Bay River Colony
All resident board. Four spots open. Lake MUD has taken a bit of an Imperialist approach with expansions, possibly to avoid annexation by the City of Baytown. There’s not much to critique with Lake MUD but if I had to pick something it would be the directors fees (nearly $30,000 when including reimbursements that were likely travel related). Even being fair by compensating people for their time, a MUD should be able to keep the directors fees under $10,000 a year.
Thomas Parent is a Baytown resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org