New Developments in Montgomery County’s November Bond Election…

TxmontgomeryAs I’ve written before, after the failed road bond election this past May, Montgomery County TX officials have again decided to put a road bond ballot before voters this November.  This revised bond package, totaling approximately $270 million, was approved by the Montgomery County Commissioners’ Court back in late August.

However, recent developments now possibly put this bond election into question, according to a story today by the Houston Chronicle’s Cindy Horswell:

A special prosecutor has been assigned to determine whether behind-the-scenes negotiations could void a last-minute deal struck by Montgomery County commissioners to get a scaled-back $270 million road bond package on the upcoming November ballot.

In question is whether some commissioners and a powerful tea party group violated the open meetings law.  It would mark the third defeat of a road bond proposal in the past decade, with the last one coming four months ago when voters rejected a 20 percent larger bond proposal.

This controversy has even prompted the highly influential Woodlands Township Board to pull their support.

[…]

On Thursday night, The Woodlands Township Board voted unanimously to withdraw support given to the November bond package in light of the investigation.

“It stinks.  It’s a backroom deal deal that lacks transparency,” said Township Chairman Bruce Tough.  “A special interest group (Texas Patriot PAC) is dictating terms of the road bond to the county.  They are not elected to represent us.”

In a strange story that includes the tea party group in question calling another a fake, Ms. Horswell’s excellent story is definitely worth a read.

Also, if you were to ask me a week ago, I would’ve told you there was no way this bond package could fail.  Now, I have no idea how it can succeed. Legal issues aside, the serious challenges remain political. How you move the political conversation away from “backroom bond deal done without proper input” toward “have you seen how much our county is expected to grow in the next 20-30 years? We need more roads NOW!” will take some serious skill and tons of GOTV work.  This also highlights how quickly bond elections can change, and from my perspective, how interesting they can be to follow.

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