POA candidates field questions during forum
Each of the five candidates for the POA board have a unique background that they would like to use for the community they love.
During a Meet the Candidates Forum on March 21, they told an audience of about 40 POA members what they can bring to the board if elected.
Ballots will go out the first week of April. Members of the Property Owners Association who are in good standing can vote by mail or online until the annual membership meeting on May 16. Three seats will be filled in the election.
When they introduced themselves, each of the candidates spoke about their experience. Both Ruth Hatcher and Hank Ottde-Vries have managed country clubs, although Hatcher also had a career in education. David Brandenburg has owned and operated a small business in Bella Vista since 1985 and has been observing the POA all those years. Jim Abrahamson worked for Cooper Communities (the developer of Bella Vista Village) and other planned communities and has been a general manager for other POAs. William Barr has a degree in fish biology and has served on the golf committee.
Hatcher and Abrahamson are both currently serving on the board.
Each answered questions written by the election committee and then questions submitted by the audience. Each candidate had two minutes for each question.
They agreed that Bella Vista demographics are changing and the average age of residents is dropping. Brandenburg, who moved to the area as a young man, said the POA marketing should target baby boomers who are more likely to use the amenities.
The candidates also agreed that while a modest assessment increase is needed, the POA is doing well with its fiscal responsibilities. Ott-de-Vries pointed out that the last assessment proposal increased the monthly fee by a large percentage. But, he added, Bella Vista is much less expensive
than similar communities.
There was little disagreement about the concept of cooperation between the POA and the city. Hatcher said that the two entities
have been working closely in a project to improve signage. Barr mentioned the partnership to build and maintain the trails.
Abrahamson pointed out that the city is in a better position to fund roads because of the availability of state funding. Incorporation was a good idea, he said.
A question from the audience was about how the candidate would educate himself about POA issues. Barr said he will continue going to open meetings and the Questions and Coffee events at Riordan Hall. Brandenburg said he’ll continue to read The Weekly Vista.
During their final comments,
Brandenburg made a plea for overseeding. He said northern visitors don’t want to play golf when the courses are brown. Overseeding the Bermuda grass will not hurt it, he said.
The practice of overseeding with rye grass for winter stopped in Bella Vista two or three years ago.
Bob Higgins, a member of the POA’s Election Committee, tells the crowd of about 40 members about the format of the Meet the Candidates Night. There are five candidates competing for three seats on the POA Board of Directors.