Cindi Erickson lays out the ground rules

At the Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association August 21, 2019 Board meeting, Board Chairperson, Cindi Erickson, lays out the rules for the audience comments.

Cindi Erickson: Forgive me for jumping ahead.  Here we are.  Now is the time to hear from our public.  We welcome your comments, which are very important to us.  Note that all comments are limited to three minutes.  Nancy will be monitoring that.  As a reminder, please go to the podium to comment.  It is helpful to the Board if you give us your name and address.  Please address your remarks to the chair.  Note that we will not be entering into dialogue at this time.  The purpose of this agenda item is for you, the public, to inform us, the Board, about your views. 

Erickson: And I want to make an additional comment based on the experience today.  I want to make certain that those comments are not derogatory to any individual staff or Board Member, nor are they slanderous.  Because we have experienced both and those won’t be tolerated from those going forward.  If members of the public, have factual questions, staff would be glad to address them.  Please speak with the executive assistant, Ella who is seated to my left.  We have 10 people who have signed up to address the Board.  We are going to do it for 30 minutes.  If we are done with the list at that time, I’ll turn to the Board and ask if they want to extend for another 30 minutes.  All right.  And if the majority of the Board wants to extend for another 30 minutes, we will.  But we’ll start with 30 minutes.

Erickson:  First person up, invite Melinda Noble. Her topic is “Life in the Village”.

Man in audience: How does a person get to speak?  Something has come up at this meeting that we were not aware of.

Erickson: Just pass this back.  Just sign in at the bottom. That’d be fine.

Man:  Oh, okay.

Melinda Noble

Melinda Noble:  Okay, I’m speechless. Honestly, I am just speechless.  I had what I wanted to say and then I came into this.  I understand that now instead of 1.2 million dollars we’re looking at 8 million dollars, which we’re going to be spending almost immediately.  I can’t understand how we got ourselves to this position.  I see where we’re going to educate the public on an increase and a special assessment.  So I am sure that’s going to mean more advertising and massive mailouts; similar to how we educated the public on our Declaration which was voted on and not approved.  You’re going to have a hard time getting any sort of an increasement, increase in assessments or special assessments.  I for one, it wouldn’t bother me if we doubled or tripled our assessments.  My problem is the people that are spending the money.  I don’t have a problem with the money, itself.  I have a problem with the people that are spending the money and the way the money is being spent. 

Noble: I am just speechless.  I don’t know how this has happened to us.  And I don’t see anything changing.  I don’t see anything being done other than we are going to spend the money and we’re going to hope it appears.  And it’s not going to because the two-tier was forced through.  That’s a genie out of a bottle.  About 70% of these lots do not have rooftops on them, so I understand.  Maybe it’s not 70% anymore.  But about 70%, at one time, did not have rooftops, so they pay half of what we pay.  So you have 30% of this village supporting basically 70% of the village, to make up our 100%.  It’s never going to happen.  Something…and once that genie got out of the bottle, it’s never going back.  There’s never going to be a change that 70% will pay 50% of the assessment and 30% will pay the rest.  So we’re looking at what?  Almost 7 million dollars, that we’re going to have to figure out a way to pay for.  It’s not going to be approved for a vote, as long as the same people are spending that money.  That’s all I have to say.  But as an account, it is very concerning to me to see this situation.  And it just continues on and on and on.

Judy Weatherly

Judy Weatherly: Good afternoon.  I am Judy Weatherly.  Yes, I have some ideas about the pool because I am assuming, once the pool is built, it will be more than just members that need to come in.  We may be having non-members.  At that point, I think that they should be assessed to be in the pool by ten dollars per person of non-members to be allowed in our pool.  This way we don’t have to carry all of the financial burden.  This may help us out.

Weatherly: As far as security…oh good, the Chief is still here.  I have a layout of an idea of how to change our visitors’ passes.  They would be the same words on the visitors’ passes, but they would be color-coded.  You wouldn’t have to worry about stars.  If somebody is going to be in here for a yard sale, let’s say it would be color, “yellow”.  And they would have all this stuff filled out and they would only be here for so many hours; the hours that are yard sale hours. 

Weatherly: And all of our different people, like your officers, they would see a yellow ticket and if it is eight o’clock at night, they know somebody is here that shouldn’t be here.  So, I am going to give that to you.  I am going to have to give it to you, hand-drawn because my computer decided to go on vacation without me and so everything is hand-drawn. 

Weatherly: I do have one other thing, I didn’t have room to write on that little square.  At the last Let’s Talk, I found out that the chief needs five more police officers.  Since then I have found out that we do need some more FD (fire department) also.  And I had some ideas of how possibly we could do it.  And it should be interesting to see how you all react to it.

Weatherly: Corporate budget is very important. I don’t care if it is a Village like us or a corporation outside.  I am proposing that the Board would do a 40% reduction on all salaries, bonuses and compensations (clapping).

Erickson: We ask for some decorum here.

Weatherly: Okay, top managers…and that reduction figure, based on what I have seen of our current CEO’s salary and using the low end of tier 18, we would bring in 392k.  That’s on the low end and I know that it is varying prices for all the salaries, but that could help bring in the type of PD (police department), FD people, we need to have; very highly qualified.  It would also cover giving raises to our wonderful POA staff.  I love our staff.  They are just great, over there.  But it would be nice for them to get a little bit more raise.  And if we can still have some money left over, somehow, it would help with some of our other projects.  That’s all I have to say.  Thank you.

Lewis Mathis

Lewis Mathis: Thank you.  My name is Lewis Mathis.  Years ago, the very day that yield sign went up at the west gate I was on the phone to start complaining about the rights of that sign to be there.  Now I have a map that I have drawn.  I am not sure, do I give this to you? 

Mathis: That lane that is the right-hand lane does not inherently belong to anyone except the people turning right from Highway 7, because that is the only lane option.  The people turning left from South 7 or coming straight across from the shopping center can only move into that left-hand lane.  As you can see from that map, there is an island there from the intersection at 7, at the end of that island is 59 feet.  Now my understanding of the law says that a person traveling in that left-hand lane, cannot move over into that right lane unless they have traveled 100 feet with their signal light continuously on before moving into that left-hand lane. 

Mathis:  What we have ended up creating at the front gate, is people who turn left and cut immediately across that island into the right-hand lane, causing people turning right into the village to stop at about 33 feet off of that highway 7. 

Mathis: Now we have a yield sign that is 88 feet from highway 7.  That is 12 feet short of 100 feet, that is permissible, the minimum for them to be able to move in it.  Now since that lane belongs to the people in the right-hand lane, there is no legal reason for that yield sign to be there, because it’s my lane.  Those people in the left-hand lane that are moving over, have to check and make sure no one is in that lane and they have to have signaled for 100 feet before they can move into that lane.  I would like that situation addressed and I would like to see our police department do a…I don’t know what kind of job they are doing…but I’d like to see that situation that is continuing to grow and is incessantly continuing to stop of the illegal lane changing at the front gate.  I see maybe one in 20 people even turn on a signal to move into that right-hand lane.  That is against the law.  It is unlawful.  I have plenty of citations here.  It is unlawful for any person to operate or drive any motor vehicle on public thoroughfare or private property in the state of Arkansas in violation of the following prohibited acts – improper or unsafe lane changes on public roadways. 

Mathis: Again, you have to travel consistently 100 feet with your signal going continuously before you can move over into a lane.

Erickson: If you have something documented there, please just share here and we will make certain it gets to the right person.

Mathis: Okay, that’s all I wanted to say.  Thank you very much.

James McGowan

James McGowan:  How y’all doing?  I appreciate y’alls good service and I just moved to the village two years ago – Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It’s really nice to be here – sleep good, feel safe and everything like that.  Nice place, really. 

McGowan: I use the west gate.  I can go through there about three times a day.  I was noticing that…and the Chief noticed too, that there is a whole lot of traffic there and 7,000 cars went through there and it is hot.  It is a really hot summer, this time. And every time the guard shack employees have to try to check stickers or check a person in, they are subject to the ambient heat and the heat of these cars coming in also and there is like 7,000 of them this time.  And I was talking to a couple of them and they said the heat just comes right up under their legs and up through their (indecipherable).  But I was wondering, maybe we could get a fan that would stand up over their head and just shoot that heat back down and out.  Plus the (indecipherable).  I think they’d be a lot healthier. (clapping)

I’d pay for the fan and y’all can pay for the installation.

Erickson calls Steve Rust and mentions he did not put a topic down.

Stephen Rust

Rust: That’s correct because I wasn’t sure whether I would speak or not.  Before I read this, I am going to say I have no hatred toward anyone in here but I very strongly disagree with our leadership and our management.  These are my opinions, so you can’t tell me that this is slanderous because I am stating my opinions and this is my time to speak. 

Rust:  I hope the grievance filed against directors has opened villagers’ eyes to the truth.  I hope that some media representatives have the courage to publish the truth.  That truth being that our CEO and some past and present board members are on a mission to control the village and refusing to hear from villagers. 

Rust:  We have a very controlling CEO and a Board chairperson, right in line with the CEO and Board chairperson who openly states that she does not represent the property owners but rather the corporation. 

Rust: We the members are the corporation.  We now have further evidence of this desire to control by the fact that our CEO has filed a grievance against two Directors. 

Stephen continues talking.  Here is a link to what Stephen said.

Erickson attempts to shut down Stephen

Erickson: Stephen, I’ve got to stop you.  This is not going be very popular.  You’re talking about a personnel matter and you’re targeting individuals in that conversation.  Excuse…I need to ask you to stop.  Do I have support from the Board?  (clapping in a show of support for Stephen)

Erickson (indecipherable) Steve, I need to ask you to step down, please. Steve. (indecipherable)

Dave Sintich

Dave Sintich: Thanks Steve.  That was great.  (clapping)  In your memo you said that you plan on manning the gates for God knows how long, but I’d like it put in the minutes that it’s 24/7, 365 days a year for the rest of your tenures and if you get re-elected to the length of that tenure, also.  Thank you.

Clara Nicolosi

Clara Nicolosi:  Yes, this is to address the Board and I have my Community Foundation hat on this afternoon.  We are getting ready to celebrate our grants given of over $35,000 to our local community and organizations that help run it.  And it’s coming up on September 19th and the reason I am talking to you guys is you got an invitation.  For those of you who haven’t, check your spam.  Maybe give us a call, because we would love to have you.  Thank you so much.

Kirk Denger

Kirk Denger:  We the members of Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association are evaluating the performance of each of the current Board of Directors and have determined that five Directors have broken bylaws and shall be removed and replaced by the majority will of the membership of Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association.  As we the members who are opposed to the CMP and the illegal manner in which it was imposed, grow, we demand that the meetings be moved to the auditorium to accommodate the larger opposition group that you see here today.

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia: I have three things that made me happy today and one that has left me with a loss for words.  I’m glad about the Renaissance RE/MAX Project.  I appreciate the candor regarding the funds that had been for rehabilitating Balboa Golf Course and got used for something else and I just appreciate that candor, honesty. 

Garcia: The thing that leaves me at a loss for words is the rumor I heard, which I am not going to talk about.  You said you can’t engage about that.  But I would like to ask the Board and staff to recommit to finding common ground, in the middle.  We don’t need more legal matters that cost us money, time and effort and deepen our divide. We need to reduce the divide by finding common ground and finding ways to compromise and not dig in trying to get our way or refusing to listen to the other viewpoint. 

Garcia:  It has to be civil and there has to be an allowance for disagreement.  Just because someone disagrees doesn’t make them wrong.  It doesn’t mean they are attacking anyone.  It is simply, they want you to see a different viewpoint.  We’ve got to learn, somehow, especially at the leadership level of Board and staff, please, stop the strong-arming and legal efforts.  Find some common ground.  Can we?  Are we adults?  Let’s find some common ground and go forward.  I know that we want what’s best for the village.  We just have disagreement over how to get there.  I don’t know what else to say.

Carol Fields

Carol Fields: Don’t call the cops on me.  (laughter and clapping) I heard that rumor about a lawsuit, also.  I really don’t think that should go through against Dick Garrison and Diana Podawiltz.  They are only doing their job.  They were voted in.  They represent (indecipherable due to clapping).  It’s another ten thousand dollars or more expense that could be saved. 

Fields:  The other thing is, I have been hearing talk of amenities, the cost and subsidizing surcharge.  We need to keep the golf prices, green fees and other costs down.  It is the biggest draw in the village.  That was what attracted my family here.  Realize that Little Rock has closed two golf courses.  Little Rock has also been advertising golf specials – $19, $29 – that includes green fees and carts.  So they are trying to compete with us and if you keep increasing our prices, you are not going to get that draw. 

comment podium hsvpoa
HSVPOA – August BOD meeting

Fields:  The other thing is, Balboa Golf Course.  I know you’ve been planning this for awhile, but all of a sudden it’s down to the line.  September, all of a sudden we are going to spend all this money.  Why is it that we have to start it now?  Why can’t we have more community dialogue, have time to consider it, more input from property owners?  Think about next year is our 50th anniversary and you’re going to have one whole golf course closed for the whole year.  Why not delay it another year?  Have more time to talk about it and have the property owners have their input in.  That’s all.  Thank you.

Bob Busse

Bob Busse: Thank you for the opportunity.  Like I said, it was something that was brought up during the meeting.  I hadn’t originally planned to talk.  The renovation of Balboa was spoken about today and one of the first things that the gentleman came out and said was that we know golfers or most golfers want bent grass greens. 

Busse:  I as a golfer, appreciate where they are coming from.  But with the cost of the entire renovation, I think cost should rule over what is preferred.  By that I mean, in the past, John Paul, when we had the renovation at Magellan and when we had the renovation at Cortez, we put in Bermuda greens.  His selling point during both of those times was that Bermuda greens are cheaper to put in and cheaper to maintain and the cost of chemicals, etc., etc. are cheaper.  My only suggestion is, if you want to save some more money, you might honestly look at Bermuda greens versus bent grass greens.  Thank you.

Click here to view video of audience comments.