Montrose Management District cancels board meeting amid increased scrutiny

Saturday, 11 November 2017, 03:36:04 AM. The embattled Montrose Management District, under fire from property owners pushing for the group's dissolution, has cancelled a monthly board meeting scheduled for Monday.

The embattled Montrose Management District, under fire from property owners pushing for the group's dissolution, has canceled a monthly board meeting scheduled for Monday.

The cancellation, which had not been posted on the group's website early Friday, was confirmed by Richard Weber, a public relations official with an Austin-based firm representing the district. Weber said he did not immediately know when or why the meeting was cancelled.

The district recently appealed a judge's late October ruling that said that it had improperly collected nearly $6.6 million based on an assessment petition now deemed void by the court. The judge also ruled that the district could not spend any newly collected assessments.

RELATED: Montrose Management District ordered to pay back millions in assessments

Last Friday, the group held a public hearing to present a new 15-year service and assessment plan. More than a dozen property owners spoke in protest of the district. None of the board members was in attendance.

Board member Ryan Haley said he was out of town last Friday and referred specific questions about the cancellation of Monday's meeting to the district's executive director Ben Brewer.

Haley also said he could not comment on the litigation, but that some of the anger against the district is misplaced.

"The district has done a lot of wonderful things for the community," he said.

Brewer could not immediately be reached Friday. A message to board chairman Claude Wynn was returned by the district's PR firm.

RELATED: MUDs sell bonds, levy taxes for developers who court conservative politicians with campaign cash

Management districts are created by the Texas legislature and are meant to promote an area and make improvements to supplement city services. With approval from a specified number of property owners, they can levy taxes on commercial property owners within the district and can also also issue bonds to finance their operations.

The Montrose District was required to have a petition with signatures of at least 25 property owners before it began assessing owners. State District Judge Daryl L. Moore ruled that petition void.

The petition, signed by 26 property owners, included some residential property owners who were not assessed and therefore "none of the levied assessments were valid and are void as a matter of law," a judge wrote in 2016.

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