The Weekly Vista

POA candidates discuss issues

- BY LYNN ATKINS Special to The Weekly Vista

Members of the Bella Vista Property Owners Associatio­n had a chance to get to know candidates for three seats on the Board of Directors last week at the Annual Candidates Forum.

It was held at Lakepoint Event Center on Tuesday, March 14.

There are five candidates running for the three seats including two incumbents: David Brandenbur­g and Sandy Fosdick. Board member Jan Sims withdrew from the race before the forum last week. The POA’s Election Committee ran the forum, with each candidate answering the same questions.

All five candidates agreed on some key points, including keeping amenities — excluding the golf courses, restaurant­s and the mountain bike trails — private. Fosdick said that members should get priority at all the amenities if any of them reach capacity.

The candidates also agreed that issues with short term rentals are not part of the POA’s authority, although Fosdick pointed out that since there are no motels in Bella Vista, short term rentals bring visitors to the area who may eventually buy a home.

The biggest issue coming up in the near future is growth and it’s affect on amenities, Brandenbur­g said. He reminded the audience that the board has already agreed to a fee schedule for the next few years, but inflation is still an issue.

Brandenbur­g said the POA is more efficient now than in the past. He has served two terms on the board and said he is proud of the work that the board has done over the past six years.

Fosdick agreed that growth is a challenge, pointing out that salaries have increased and hopes that the administra­tion can find ways to be more efficient so the work force doesn’t increase in numbers.

Brad Parker suggested that the POA can increase income by raising prices for the public. He thinks the board can avoid raising the monthly membership fee by using those guest fees. He also emphasized efficiency and wants to lower expenses.

“We keep asking the members to pay for things and that’s unsustaina­ble. That drives a wedge in the community,” he said. He also wants to increase transparen­cy, pointing out that members don’t have specific informatio­n on some issues like the success of the restaurant­s.

Hendren said he isn’t unhappy with the way the POA has functioned in the past. He thinks the increases in the monthly assessment fees were probably necessary.

Speaking as a business owner, Hendren said, an important issue is keeping employees.

“Keeping our employees — retaining them — I know it’s easy to say that shouldn’t be worth that much money, but you didn’t used to get 15 dollars an hour to flip burgers either,” he said.

Planning for growth is important, Stohlton said. “If we are proactive about it rather than reactive, I think Bella Vista will continue to be the best part of northwest Arkansas.”

Stohlton wants to bring kids’ sports to Bella Vista. He pointed out that if the POA built sports fields, adult leagues could use them as well.

The election begins on April 10 when the ballots are mailed. Voting can be on paper ballots through the regular mail or electronic­ally. The annual meeting and the last day to vote is May 16 at Lakepoint.

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