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Board quarantined; dire financial warnings

POA urged to cut spending as virus impact will stretch into 2021; board, staff quarantined after exposure

Treasurer Wayne Foltz is set to give the POA board a stark and disturbing update on Village finances tomorrow.

“Our future revenue stream remains at significant risk,” Foltz writes in his monthly report to the board.

Operating cash is down $1.3 million (39.5 percent) from this time last year if you don’t count the $3.1-million federal payroll protection grant the POA received.

To get a handle on cash flow, Foltz said the POA staff is recommending cuts of $1.47 million in capital spending this year, and said “future capital expenditures should be held to a minimum until the operational losses are controlled within amenities.”

As everyone knows, amenity revenue – from things like golf, restaurants, and the fitness center – has been reduced as people stay home during the pandemic.  Foltz said, “the probability is high Covid-19 restrictions will continue well into 2021 and possibly for all of 2021.”

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This hit close to home when former board chair Diana Podawiltz fell ill and was tested positive for the coronavirus.  Other board members and key staff who came in contact with her are in 14-day quarantine.

For this reason, the board will meet “virtually” on Zoom tomorrow because directors and managers are stuck at home.  A video of the meeting should be available later in the day.

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Also on tomorrow’s agenda will be election of a new chair to replace Podawiltz.  Vice-chair Lloyd Sherman is expected to get the job.

The board may also discuss whether to appoint someone to fill her seat.  The board already has two appointed, unelected directors.

After years of talk, a standing Marketing Committee reporting directly to the board is expected to be created.

We began talking about this when I was on the board seven years ago.  The idea was pushed aside when David Twiggs was hired as CEO.  He told the board he would personally handle POA marketing and the $500,000 annual budget we approved.  That was a serious mistake.  Virtually no effective marketing of the Village has been done since then.

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A tip of the hat is due the POA’s accounting department for opening up our books in the latest financials.  If you are really interested in how much is being spent and for what, take a few minutes to browse through the financial report given to the board this month.  I’ve been following this stuff for 15 years and this is the most detail I’ve ever seen in a monthly report.

Click here to see the financials covering the first seven months of the year.

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Want to see a stark, graphic look at how the pandemic is pushing down our POA revenue stream?  Here’s a look at attendance at our Fitness Center, where each visit represents cash in the Village bank account:

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On the flip side, here’s a graphic look at what the coronavirus pandemic is doing to push up the Village’s real-estate market, according to some new numbers supplied by Lloyd Sherman:

 There are only 118 units for sale (94 single-family homes) because of the rising demand for property here.  A year ago 231 homes were on the market.  That’s a decline of 113 units, or 48.9 percent.

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One of my favorite newspaper columns has long been “On Computers” by Bob and Joy Schwabach syndicated in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  I found it informative, easy to understand and very well written.

Another reason was personal.  Bob and I sat 20 feet from each other for three years at The Philadelphia Inquirer.  He was a wonderful writer and a good friend.  He died Aug. 9 of a stroke at his home in Chicago.  Joy will continue his column.  He will be missed.

After Philadelphia, Bob moved back to his home town of Chicago and went to work for the Chicago Tribune.  Here’s an example of Bob’s writing:

“My first day at the Tribune the managing editor came over to me and said he needed a food writer and did I know anything about food.

“I said: ‘Well, I eat,’ and he said: ‘That’s good enough for me.’ The rest is history and remains with me to this day around my waist. This is the way newspapers really work.”

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By Former Board Director, Frank Leeming, 8-18-20

Click here to subscribe to Frank’s email list.

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Thank you for reading. Click here to visit Hot Springs Village Community Forums.

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Click here to visit the Hot Springs Village People Facebook Group. We hope you can join us and discuss this and many other issues in both the Facebook Group and the Village Community Forums.

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