Montrose Management District to dissolve operations

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - The Montrose Management District board members voted Thursday to dissolve operations, following legal action and a petition challenging its authority to collect assessments. 

Business owners had claimed the district unlawfully took their money in what amounted to a tax on businesses in the area and they wanted it shut down.

The judge in the case recently ruled that millions of dollars in assessments were illegally collected, the money was paid under duress, the district has to pay back the money and the district can't collect any more assessments. According to attorney Andy Taylor, the amount of the assessments has grown to $9 million.

Taylor sued the district.

"We've been fighting this battle for six years. Eighty percent of the people this district supposedly helps and represents doesn't want them," Taylor said.

Business owners said they weren't reaping any of the benefits of the services the district claims to have been providing, including beautification, security, graffiti cleanup and maintenance on the lights on the bridges over Highway 59.

"We don't feel like we're getting our money's worth. Not only that, we don't get to vote on what the money gets spent on. And we don't get to vote for anybody who is on the board and decides what the money gets spent on," business owner Andrew Leva said.

The Montrose Management District funds and manages operation of the bridge lights on Highway 59. Back in January, Mayor Sylvester Turner agreed to help keep the lights on by paying the electric bill out of his campaign fund account. However, Turner said he had hoped to find a more permanent solution.  

KPRC2 has reached out to Turner's office for reaction to the district's decision to dissolve.

MMD was one of several management districts created by the state Legislature to promote economic development in specific areas of town. 

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