Neil Gaynor – Candidate for MUD 6 Director
I began thinking about serving in public office after seeing the impact of the extraordinary rainfall from Hurricane Harvey and other recent storms. It is evident that, as a community, The Woodlands is coming to embrace adaptation to the new realities of flood management and water use. My background is in earth science and I have retired after over 35 years in the oil and gas industry, with experience mainly in research and development projects.
To better understand the concerns and priorities of the residents of MUD 6, I have sent an online survey to neighbors in my local community in Grogan’s Mill. It could be useful to expand the survey or something similar through the Village Association website or Facebook page.
Although responses are still being received, some preliminary results, to date, are as follows:
- 100% of respondents want to have MUD 6 documents such as minutes, budgets, and spending plans for capital and maintenance expenses on an easily accessible website;
- 100% do not know the MUD 6 board membership, responsibilities and MUD 6 activities;
- 50% would participate in an annual MUD 6 Townhall-style meeting around budget time; and I’m pleased to say that 70% are satisfied with MUD 6 services. For those not satisfied, most consistently voiced concern was in regard to the role of MUD 6 in flood and drainage management. It may be that the MUD currently has a limited role in such activities, but I believe that given recent events, that needs to change.
The takeaway is that respondents are very interested in MUD 6 transparency and improved communications, which I strongly support. In addition, because of the keen interest in drainage and flood issues, I believe that MUD 6 can be a part of the solution.
The recent announcement of the establishment of a Flood Management Division in the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) is most welcome (The Woodlands Villager, April 11, 2018). However, SJRA does not have taxing authority and is therefore challenged with respect to funding of flood management infrastructure. SJRA provides drinking water and wastewater treatment services in The Woodlands. MUD 6, through the management of The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency (WJPA), is a customer of SJRA. This new development represents a great opportunity for MUD 6 to be a partner in a comprehensive system of flood management, in which I want to play an active role. I encourage all involved to think of flood water as a potentially valuable resource, not to be wasted by redirection downstream, but utilized in positive ways, such as aquifer recharge. Even though the effects of the recent storms were not as severe in MUD 6 as in other MUDs, storm water will always flow downslope to our neighbors at lower elevations, so we all need to be part of the solution.