The Woodlands approves contract changes with Shenandoah for policing in mall, Market Street area

Bizar Male

The Woodlands Township board meetings returned to a videoconference format Jan. 21. (Screenshot courtesy The Woodlands Township)

The Woodlands Township board of directors voted Jan. 21 to change a law enforcement agreement the township has had with the city of Shenandoah since 2011 for one that officials said they think will be more beneficial for all involved.

At the Jan. 21 meeting, which was held via video conference, Chair Gordy Bunch said he and Shenandoah Mayor Ritch Wheeler had begun to discuss changes to the agreement concerning law enforcement and fire services last year before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

According to information attached to the meeting agenda, the interlocal agreement between the two governmental bodies was intended to provide fire and EMS response to Shenandoah and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

In return, the city of Shenandoah provided patrol services to parts of The Woodlands, including The Woodlands Mall and Market Street, and the city was given a partial credit on the fire and EMS contract. According to information from the township, that credit was $266,336, or 30% of the overall cost.

According to a summary of the amendment, the two bodies will discontinue the patrol services and service credit when the amendment is executed. It was approved unanimously by board members Jan. 21.

“This would allow them to redirect their law enforcement … into Shenandoah, but it will increase the cost that they fund us for firefighter services,” Bunch said.

Later, the formula through which the firefighter service expense is calculated will change for next year, he said.

Bunch said he believes the renewal agreement heading into 2022 will provide a better funding mechanism.

The board will meet via video conference again Jan. 27, returning to the format after several months of in-person meetings.

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