In board director comments at November’s board meeting, director Mike Medica said Magellan and Ponce de Leon golf courses recently were re-rated by a visiting team. “It will be a few weeks before we finalize what has come out of that,” he said. New score cards are expected to be out in early 2020.
“We have more courses to do, but that’s a start. We haven’t re-rated our courses in a long time, so that’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
“There’s a lot of activity at the East Gate now – a lot – which is good,” Medica said.
Nancy Luehring had no comments.
Buddy Dixon said revenue at DeSoto Club has risen, adding in jest, “I think we owe it to Buddy’s Buffet.” He has been hosting a buffet periodically, and patrons enjoy a discount at that time, and invited the public to come to that evening’s Buddy’s Buffet.
Dixon also recognized Nikki Choyce, the new chair of the Comprehensive Master Plan committee.
In his comments, vice chair Tormey Campagna said the memo which was pulled from the agenda at his request was originally his idea. The proposal would have banned voice and video recordings at POA committee meetings, except for recordings by POA staff or contractors.
“I pulled it for a simple reason. I think there are some issues that need to be addressed in the committees and how they function, and how they can function better,” he said. “Some committees are very good; in others, things could function better.”
He urged chair Cindi Erickson to set a public meeting to discuss committees, adding that committees are “clearly important” to the Village.
He also said the board would not propose an assessment hike prior to installation of new members in April 2020.
Campagna said he campaigned saying $3 million could be saved annually in the budget, but learned it isn’t so. “That was overreach,” he said. “There isn’t.” Also, he was dissatisfied during the campaign with the owner-equity level, and said he now could probably argue that issue “either way.”
But POA property depreciation is even more important, he said, adding that if the POA has $200 million in assets, over two decades it should be spending or adding to reserves $10 million annually to maintain assets.
“We aren’t even close, and ultimately, it comes home to roost,” he said.
Even if the Village gained 300 rooftops annually, it would not be enough to meet the POA’s long-term financial needs, he said.
Erickson said the board is “actively working together” to create a finance committee.
The board, along with Lesley Nalley and chief financial officer Liz Mathis, held a public work meeting to discuss the issue. “It was an extremely productive meeting,” she said.
Another work session will be 2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 at a site to be announced.
Also, the governance committee has created a subcommittee to review voting procedures for elections. Any standing committee may create as many subcommittees as needed.
Campagna chairs the committee, with members Keith Keck, Jerry Yeric, Jim Zahnd and Renee Haugen. The goal is to have new procedures in place before the 2020 board election.
Among other business, POA chief member experience officer Jamie Caperton introduced Paul Sage, the new marketing manager.
During her comments, chief operating officer Lesley Nalley accused a website that allows the public to comment on various Village issues of “censorship” for pulling comments. Although Nalley did not name the website, she was referring to www.hotspringsvillagepeople. (See related article page 1A)
Also, Nalley said year-to-date net operating gain before capital and depreciation on Oct. 31 was $309,000 less than a year earlier.
“Membership equity remains strong and ahead of year-to-date 2018 by $986,000,” she said. “At the current level, we expect to meet or exceed December 2018’s membership equity, which was $73.6 million."
Village Homes & Land, which is closing at the year’s end, on Oct. 31 had 5 builders guild pre-sales closed; with 1 under contract.
• 3 non-POA lots sold, 11 POA lots sold, 19 POA lots under contract, 3 existing homes sold, 2 homes under contract
• 88 referrals have been made to the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors, with 1 closing and 1 under contract
Buyers were almost entirely from the Sunbelt -- Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Nevada, Maryland, Texas, Florida, Tennessee.
New home permits on Oct. 31 were lagging behind last year (42 on Oct. 31, 2019 vs. 53 on the same date in 2018.) But it outpaces the previous two years – or the previous 6, without the commercial multi-unit housing projects of 2014 and 2015.
Also, existing home sales are outpacing the last 5 years – 566 on Oct. 31, vs 528 a year earlier.
As of Oct. 31, there were 217 homes listed, with an average sales price of $259,000. Jamie Caperton, Kevin Sexton, Stephanie Heffer and Nalley met with area brokers on Nov. 15 to facilitate drafting of a pilot program to replace the Village Homes & Land operation.
For broadband internet, Nalley said the POA is gaining momentum on filling broadband gaps and attracting state-wide interest in our needs. She mentioned recent coverage in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Hot Springs Village Voice on how elected and appointed leaders are coming together to encourage solutions.
“Special thank you. to Sen. Bill Sample, Sen.Jason Rapert, Justice of the Peace Keith Keck and Saline County Judge Jeff Arey for their remarks during recent hearings on the Governor’s Rural Connect Program rules,” she said. “As an unincorporated community, we often get brushed aside for such funding, which has limited the infrastructure brought to our residents and business owners by internet service providers. Together, we will continue advocating for this crucial service throughout the Village.”
On marketing, Nalley said the Village has enjoyed several earned media mentions in the last few weeks.
“Where to Retire featured Hot Springs Village in [its] ‘Finding a City that Appeals to the Grandchildren’ list. Thank you to the Clem and Kaercher families for sharing their stories.
“Also, Southern Living listed us as one of the South’s Best Retirement Towns. Thank you to CMEO Jamie Caperton for leading much-needed refinements to our marketing program. Along with the recent addition of marketing manager Paul Sage, who you will meet today, I am encouraged about how we are positioning ourselves in the marketplace to capitalize on our 50th anniversary and driving strong interest in 'the nation’s premier active lifestyle community.'”
Also, Nalley said the fire department is currently conducting building inspections throughout the Village. “We encourage the community to take a look through their businesses and homes to identify potential fire or safety hazards,” she said.