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Home » 2018-11-06 election » The Woodlands » At-large Township Position 4 » Bruce Rieser

Bruce Rieser
Party Republican
Born 1/15/1951
Education The Ohio State University
Occupation Aviation Consultant
Religion Christian
Marital Married
Children 1

Bruce Rieser


I am seeking to be re-elected to my third term on The Woodlands Township Board. I am currently serving as Vice-Chairman of the Board, and the Chairman of Visit The Woodlands, The Drainage Taskforce, and the newly created Budget Taskforce.  I also serve on the Economic Development Committee and I was on the search committee for both the Fire Chief and for our newly hired President and GM.

In my previous professional life, I worked for British Airways for 33 years.  I started my career driving forklifts in the Chicago cargo shed, worked my way up through various operational management and marketing roles, culminating with being appointed Director Properties the Americas.  In that role I was responsible for all of the BA real estate holdings and airport relationships in the Western Hemisphere.  I retired in Oct 2010 and started SKR Consulting LLC in Jan 2011. SKR Consulting provides tactical, operational and real estate advice to the aviation community.

I am currently engaged in representing the international carriers serving Bush Intercontinental Airport on the Mickey Leland International Terminal project.  This project will encompass a complete tear down and replacement of the C North Concourse for United Airlines, and replace Terminal D with a new state-of-the art twenty-four gate international gateway.  The current budget for the project is $1.6 billion. 


Received the Vetting Committee Recommendation, approved by membership.


Video Interview Source

Submitted by kenneth vaughn on 2020-09-09 16:37:48


MCTP Rating of: 93 ENDORSED Source

Submitted by kenneth vaughn on 2020-09-09 16:35:37



  • Supported by MCTP in last election(identifies w/MCTP Core Values)
  • Has done outstanding job up to now
  • Leading township in process towards home-rule(Incorporation)
  • (The Woodlands won't have seat at table of HGAC until it incorporates)
  • In favor or County-wide Mobility Study
  • Has large-corporation operational experience
  • Pursuing alternative forms of revenue generation to keep taxes low
  • Voted for the lowest tax rate (.227.$100 valuation) ever.
  • In favor of Ring Roads that go around The Woodlands
  • Endorsed by The Woodlands Professional Firefighters Association
  • Voted in the March 2018 Republican Primary



  • Wasn't clear on if a Performing Arts Complex was built, what the funding mechanism would be.






What are the three main reasons you are running for this office? Do you see any potential conflicts of interest?

  1. To lead The Township in a thoughtful, fiscally prudent manner than continues to enhance the value that The Woodlands gives to its residents and visitors
  2. To provide guidance to the Board and the Staff as we explore the issues involved in transitioning to home rule
  3. To aggressively pursue alternative forms of revenue that will lessen the reliance on property tax assessments.

What are the three main attributes that make you the most qualified for this position?

I am both an experienced executive and a successful small business owner.  I have a broad range of experience in marketing, people development and management, budgeting and contract negotiation.  I am a proven leader who is not afraid to speak out against the status quo.  I am a long term resident and I have a thorough understanding of the key issues facing the community, mobility, drainage, and potential incorporation.

What three changes would you like to see implemented by the Township?

~Not Answered Yet~

Do you think The Woodlands should become a city or remain unincorporated? Why or why not (what are some of the pro's and cons)?  And if so, when should incorporation occur and why in that time frame? 

It is clear that The Woodlands will eventually become a city.  We are the largest community in Texas, living under a Township wide covenant system of management that is not incorporated.  While we have legal protection from forced annexation by Houston and/or Conroe for the foreseeable future, we are not protected from the actions of the developer, Howard Hughes Corporation, or the County Government.  The Township as currently constructed cannot negotiate for State or Federal funding, it doesn't control its roads, it cannot regulate or limit commercial or residential development, it cannot employ its own police force, and it has no ordinance making power.  

During the 2016 election cycle, it became clear that there was simply not enough information available for anyone to make an informed decision, pro or con, on the potential costs or benefits from incorporating.  The incorporation study that is currently underway is specifically designed to provide this data.  The study is set to conclude in the first quarter of 2018.  As far as the timeframe for when this should happen, that is totally up to the voters. The Woodlands can only incorporated when a majority of its residents vote to do so and approve the proposed maximum property tax rate that can be assessed by the newly incorporated City.

What do you primarily rely on to help you make difficult decisions as it relates to public policy?

Depending upon the situation, I have a about 6 really trusted individuals who I routinely talk to about difficult policy decisions.  I gather their impressions, and then I have a conversation with my wife Sarah to validate my conclusions.  I have found that she will provide an opinion or nuance that I had not considered.  


What are your thoughts regarding the 2020 Preliminary budget?  Do you fully support it in full and, if not, what do you object to?

I am comfortable with the current budget that was recently passed by the Board.  We were able to fund all of the base budget costs, plus approximately $3m in budget initiatives, fully fund our reserves and still lower the tax rate to the lowest rate ever, $0.227/$100 valuation.  The Board also agreed to a budget retreat in January 2018 that will look at reducing the rate of growth in personnel across all departments.

The township budget funds all reserves 100% yearly. What is the current surplus and should any of it be returned to the residents or retained in a rainy day fund and if so, how much and why? Any other options for the surplus?

All of the reserve accounts with the exception of the operational reserve are fungible, the funds can be transferred into or out of the various funds as directed by a majority vote of the Township Board of Directors.  The operational reserve is set at 50% of the projected base budget, and is in effect a "rainy day" fund, for lack of a better name.  The Township is still in a transition mode in terms of its relationship with the Howard Hughes corporation.  Several major "assets" are set to be turned over to the Township within the next three years, they include a significant increase in streetscape maintenance as well as the Woodlands Waterway.  The Township also has approximately $60m in bond debt, primarily for the Woodlands Conference Center.  In my opinion, the Woodlands Township is one of the most fiscal sound taxing entities in the State of Texas.  Funding reserves during periods of economic growth is prudent financial planning that helps insulate the taxpayer from rising tax rates during periods of economic downturn.

Should the economic development reserve fund serve as a general fund, to go to multiple projects such as ice-rinks, museums, buildings, street repairs etc. or should it be a project specific only account?

The decision to spend funds from the reserve accounts must be acted upon by the Board of Directors.  That debate would be undertaken during the monthly Board Meeting.  I am not sure what making these funds project specific before reserving them would accomplish.  As stated in another of the reserve account questions, any and all amounts that currently reside in reserve accounts, with the exception of the operational reserve, can be moved or reallocated by Board action.

Should the township be funding non-profit organization events such as Interfaith luncheons, senior pick-up services, Education for tomorrow luncheons, etc...with tax dollars.

As you are aware the Township Board is an unpaid volunteer position.  The Township does purchase tables at certain events of organizations that the Township partners with or an interest in. Examples would be Interfaith, the Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, The Woodlands Economic Development Partnership, the North Houston Chamber of Commerce, etc.  It is important for Board members to attend these functions and to ask them to do so on their own dime is, in my view, an unreasonable expectation.  The amount of money that the Township expends for this purpose is a very minor part of the total operating budget.  

As far as the programs Senior Rides and Meals on Wheels that are administered by Interfaith, these are competitively bid contracts and at the time of contract award, Interfaith was deemed the most cost effective option for these programs.  That may not be the case when the contracts are up for renewal.


It's been reported that The Woodlands comprises only 20% of households in the county, yet provides almost double that (38.5%) of the county total in property taxes. What would/could you do to correct this gross imbalance of tax inequity?

We are a very affluent residential community that is blessed with a disproportionately large commercial tax base as well.  Residents of the Woodlands benefit from this commercial tax base that funds programs that commercial property taxpayers do not directly benefit from, ie residential trash collection and recycling services, covenant enforcement, and the construction of roads funded by WRUD1.  We will always be in the position of paying more taxes to the County for a disproportionately smaller percentage of County services.  I don't like it, but that is the way it will be until such time as the rest of County begins to approach our level of development.

What is your position on the Homestead, Over 65 and Disabled Exemptions available to the residents of the Township?

I am not a fan of the Homestead exemption in the Township.  This is a mechanism that artificially shifts some homeowners tax liabilities to either non-homestead residential property or commercial property owners in The Township.  I can support Over 65 and Disabled Exemption on the basis of financial need of those individuals. I believe that we should charge the lowest amount of tax to everyone across the board for the services that are demanded by the Township residents.


Have you ever been convicted as result of arrest? Ever had any tax liens? If so, give start & resolution dates?

The answer is no on both counts, no arrests, no tax liens.

Have you and/or any of your family members ever ben employed by or worked under contract to either The Woodlands Township, Woodlands Development Company or Montgomery County?


Are you now or have you ever done business with the township and/or township/county official?


Should political subdivisions post their detailed check registers and credit card statements online for public viewing?

~Not Answered Yet~

List all governmental entities you've done business with during the past five years

1. The City of Houston, as a consultant on the Mickey Leland International Terminal Project.  I represent the foreign flag carriers that are the primary funding mechanism for the International Terminal in their negotiations with the City.

List Civic, Political or union organization or individuals to whom you have contributed time or money (five years).


Ted Cruz, Greg Abbot, Steve Toth, Kristin Bays, Matt Beasley, Mark Keough, Brett Ligon, Dan Crenshaw, Kelli Ward, Josh McDaniel, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Empower Texans, Senate Conservative Fund, Matt Bevin, John James, National Association of Gun Rights, NRA, The Texas Patriots PAC, The Montgomery County Tea Party, 


Emergency Ministries, The Woodlands Children's Museum, WoodsEdge Community Church, The Houston Golf Association, Resourcing Christian Education International, First Presbyterian Church (Evansville, IN.), Angel Reach, Love Fosters Hope, Friends of the Kardelen Foundation, The Noack Foundation, Mercy Chefs, St. Jude's Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, Operation Pets Alive, Project Veritas, Congaree Foundation, Reaching Unreached Nations, Children International. 




What are the 3 most pressing mobility issues in The Woodlands and what is your preferred solution to each?

  1. Traffic transiting The Woodlands to and from I-45 - I would like to see more emphasis placed on the improvement of the natural ring roads that surround The Woodlands, I-45, FM1488, SH242, FM2978, TX99 that would allow traffic to transit around The Woodlands, not through it.
  2. Lack of representation on the Greater Houston Galveston Council - As an unincorporated Township we are not formally represented on the vital board that wrestles with regional issues, and is the preferred mechanism for allocating State and Federal funding to help pay for mitigation projects.  
  3. Countywide traffic study - I talked about this two years ago, and it still hasn't happened.  Montgomery County does not have a Countywide mobility plan.  The only traffic study that has been done to date is the South County Mobility study that was jointly funded by MoCo Precinct 3 and The Woodlands. It is imperative given the myriad of natural barriers we have in Montgomery County that a comprehensive plan is implemented to stop piecemeal roadway improvements and instead spend the funds on a coordinated effort at alleviating the growing gridlock we are experiencing.

It appears that developers are going to build WPX (Woodlands Parkway Extension).  What's your opinion of this and what could be done to stop it?

It is apparent that the Parkway extension is being looked at yet again  The Township Board is looking at potential options and as such it would be inappropriate for me to discuss potential courses of action at this time.  The best defense against the extension is incorporation.

What is your opinion of the WRUD (Woodlands Road Utility District) and how is it useful and what's the downside?

The WRUD (which was created by George Mitchell) has funded the construction of most of the roads within The Woodlands Township without directly impacting residential property rates.  The WRUD boundaries are very narrowly drawn and over 99% of the taxes are paid by the commercial property owners within its confines. The WRUD Board consists of seven members. There are three designated positions, Montgomery County (Craig Doyle), the largest tax payer in the district (currently Anadarko Petroleum), and The Woodlands Township (me).  The other four are elected on two year terms, The downside of all Municipal Utility Districts in Texas is that they are created by a handful of developer friendly residents that encumber future residents with large sums of bond debt.  In most utility districts, the houses are built and occupied and eventually the Boards are taken over by area residents. In the WRUD there have been no other residential units built within the boundaries and as such there are only three registered voters eligible to vote in bond referendum or Board elections. 


What political party have you affilated with over the last twenty years? Do you believe in that party platform(all of it or % part - if %, please describe what you disagree with?

I have been a registered Republican my entire life. I believe in the process of developing the platform as it is currently done in Texas, is open and transparent. As a member of the Republican party is my responsibility to make my views know during the process, but once adopted to support the platform.  

What's your position on a Performing Arts Center in the Woodlands and what should the funding source(s) be & at what percentage?

I think there is a bigger question that needs to be factored into this discussion. As The Woodlands creeps closer to buildout, the need to continue to grow our Sales and Hotel taxes will be increasingly important in limiting our need to increase Property tax rates on our residents.  We have already completely revamped the Convention and Visitors Bureau into Visit The Woodlands and turned them into the marketing arm of the Township.  The key to continuing to grow our Sales in Hotel taxes is in attracting meetings, conventions and tourism to our area.  A Performing Arts Center could be a valuable part of that effort.  

Do you agree/disagree with MCTP Core Values?  Please explain if you disagree

The MCTP Core Values are consistent with my own.

This is a non-paid position.  Do you think this role should receive compensation?  And if so, why....

No I do not. 

How long have you been consistently voting in elections? For which parties candidates? List all the elections you have voted in for the past 3 years (2014-2016).

I have voted in all of the Republican primaries, Republican primary run-off elections and every General Election in the past 10 years.


Which current Township board member do you identify with the most and why?

After two years on The Board, I really don't identify with any of the other Board members on The Township Board.  Everyone of them has their own strengths and weaknesses, belief system and biases, as do I.  I understand what it takes to serve in that capacity and I am grateful that they chose to serve the community on an unpaid basis. When debating policy issues I try to keep my own counsel and be open to the persuasive opinions of others.

What's your understanding and opinion on the Alpha Omega Security Services?  And should the Township continue to fund/utilize it?

The Alpha Omega Security Service is a mounted security service currently employed in the Town Center area of The Woodlands as well as in the Costco, Loews and Wal-Mart shopping centers that are located within the Township boundaries.  The service has value in Town Center, where crowds gather and move from place to place predominantly on foot in areas that are hard to patrol with vehicles. However, the current cost of maintaining this service is a substantial portion of our law enforcement annual expenditures and Alpha Omega does not employ sworn peace officers.  Note: In the 2018 approved budget, Alpha Omega has been removed from the outlying shopping plazas resulting in substantial savings in the budget expenditure.