Af­fil­i­ate mem­ber of the POA

The Weekly Vista - - Opinion -

T.J. and the GOTPOAs Bella Vista POA CEO Tom Jud­son (T.J.), and the Board, have ei­ther been clue­less or ig­nor­ing the grow­ing anger of many POA mem­bers re­gard­ing their de­ci­sion to throw open the doors to our ameni­ties to one and all. If T.J. was pay­ing at­ten­tion, his il­lu­sion that all is well in this “land of pleas­ant liv­ing” ended at the Met­field meet­ing on Sept. 13.

Many at­ten­dees were up­set that any­one and ev­ery­one are now al­lowed to use the POA ameni­ties as Guests of the POA (GOTPOA). This pri­vate com­mu­nity is pri­vate no more, and no longer does a guest need to be “spon­sored” by a POA Mem­ber. This sig­nif­i­cantly di­min­ishes the value of be­ing a POA mem­ber and prop­erty owner, as the GOTPOA pay no “assess­ment fee” for the priv­i­lege of hav­ing ac­cess to the ameni­ties. Again, “why buy the cow … ?” Also, they have no at­tach­ment to the com­mu­nity. T.J. ac­knowl­edged, when the an­nual assess­ment fees are fac­tored in, a POA mem­ber pays more than a GOTPOA to use the same ameni­ties.

As an ex­am­ple, I pay $480/year just for the priv­i­lege of hav­ing ac­cess to the POA ameni­ties. I pay this be­fore I walk in the door on Jan­uary 1. Then, I must pay what­ever user fee for the par­tic­u­lar amenity, i.e., golf, pool, ten­nis, etc. POA Mem­ber fees are slightly less than the GOTPOA fees ($4 less for golf, $0.50 less to swim, and $1.50 less to play ten­nis).

If T.J. be­lieves open­ing our ameni­ties is the an­swer to our fi­nan­cial woes, he must ad­dress the is­sue of the GOTPOA get­ting a “free ride,” while we pay the costs of build­ing and main­tain­ing those ameni­ties. T.J. men­tioned sev­eral times that a GOTPOA used an amenity and then bought prop­erty. So, let’s think of the GOTPOA pro­gram as a Jun­ket. Many de­vel­op­ers, Cooper in­cluded, use jun­kets to pro­mote their de­vel­op­ments. There is one small catch. As with all jun­kets, each GOTPOA would need to sit through a 30-45 minute sales pitch.

A young woman at the meet­ing sug­gested a vi­able so­lu­tion for the is­sue of Guests of the POA. If John Q. from Any­place USA wants ac­cess to our ameni­ties, they go to Mem­ber Ser­vices, pay $192 for an “Af­fil­i­ate POA Mem­ber” card, and then they can use all ameni­ties at mem­ber rates for a year. The $192 is the same amount paid for an unim­proved lot. Since “Mem­ber and As­so­ciate Mem­ber” are al­ready de­fined in the By­Laws, the Board could cre­ate a non-vot­ing “Af­fil­i­ate Mem­ber” cat­e­gory. Walla, presto the GOTPOA is­sue is solved. The POA gets more money, the prop­erty own­ers are not pay­ing more than a GOTPOA, and ben­e­fits of prop­erty own­er­ship are pre­served. Ev­ery­one wins.

Fi­nally, it was an in­ter­est­ing meet­ing with a spir­ited, but re­spect­ful back and forth. How­ever, when a mem­ber of the Board of Di­rec­tors started telling prop­erty own­ers to shut up, that’s when I left.

Bill King Bella Vista

City cor­rect, not POA

Last Wed­nes­day the

Weekly Vista news­pa­per pub­lished an ar­ti­cle on the front page about the city coun­cil and their con­cern over not hav­ing enough re­serve funds on hand. Re­serve Funds were de­fined as a set of funds “to cover risks, in­clud­ing eco­nomic down­turns and other costly emer­gen­cies.” The city coun­cil voted to main­tain a level of re­serve funds equal to a range of 25-35 per­cent of an­nual in­come.

On the other side of the coin, our POA had ap­prox­i­mately $12 mil­lion in re­serve funds when our COO, Tom Jud­son came three years ago. That level is now $600,000 with Mr. Jud­son say­ing that it would be zero by the end of year and we would no doubt have to bor­row money from our Wa­ter Com­pany.

About a month ago I emailed Mr. Jud­son and asked why he had moved our re­serves from long term in­vest­ments to short term “spend­able” funds. He told me he wasn’t happy with the re­turn our long term in­vest­ments were mak­ing so he “rec­om­mended” to the board to elim­i­nate our re­serves. (At that point I should have asked what the rate of re­turn was and what penal­ties did we have to pay to with­draw this money, but I didn’t.) Nat­u­rally, our board fol­lowed the rec­om­men­da­tion of their leader. If you ask Mr. Jud­son or any board mem­ber about spend­ing all of our re­serves, they will tell you how proud they are of what has been ac­com­plished.

We have to­tally dif­fer­ent money man­age­ment philoso­phies from our two gov­ern­ing bod­ies. The city says we need re­serves in case of emer­gen­cies. Tom Jud­son says we still have a lit­tle money set aside for emer­gen­cies and we al­ways have in­sur­ance and can bor­row from the Wa­ter Com­pany if we have a prob­lem.

I be­lieve the city is tak­ing the cor­rect ap­proach to man­ag­ing our money and the POA is not. I be­lieve we should re­build our re­serves to a level rec­om­mended by some en­tity that knows what they are do­ing not the zero level rec­om­mended by Mr. Jud­son. I also be­lieve that un­til this is done, only a min­i­mal assess­ment in­crease can be jus­ti­fied. This would be an in­crease ded­i­cated to re­build­ing re­serves. Mr. Jud­son has stated on the POA web­site that “we have enough funds to main­tain what has been re­cently im­proved and up­dated.” So, some of the cap­i­tal projects on the five year wish list will have to wait. For ex­am­ple, we would not be able to ex­pand the new beach. Mr. Jud­son stated in an­other meet­ing that we would not be ex­pand­ing the beach for sev­eral years any­way to make sure it was go­ing to be a long term suc­cess be­fore spend­ing more money on it. We might have to wait on kayak launch sites and ad­di­tional play­ground equip­ment. The “splash park” and east side dog park may have to be resched­uled. These ad­just­ments we can live with but, not be­ing able to han­dle emer­gen­cies, is just play­ing with fire.

Larry Blech Bella Vista

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