The Board of Directors for the Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association held its September Discussion Session on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. This report only covers the first half of the meeting.
There was a diverse range of topics discussed. The meeting was live-streamed on the POA Official YouTube channel. Click here to visit the HSV POA Official YouTube channel.
Sitting at the table were: Chairman, Lloyd Sherman; Vice-chair, Tucker Omohundro; Dick Garrison, Kirk Denger; Pam Avila; JoAnne Corry; Board Treasurer Wayne Foltz; General Manager, Charles King; and Administrative Assistant, Ella Scotty.
Excused absence: Board Secretary and Parliamentarian, Marcy Mermel.
Staff attending: Director of Placemaking and Development, Stephanie Heffer. (Edited to add: Jason Temple, Chief Operating Officer was also present.)
Committee chairpersons present: Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC), Greg Jones; Marketing Committee, Ray Lehman; Architectural Control Committee (ACC), Janet Rowe; Trails Committee, Paul Bernard; Common Property, Forest and Wildlife Committee, Bruce Caverly; and Recreation Committee, Jimmy Betts.
Additional guest: Hot Springs Village Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, John O’Brien.
As I was not present and am only going by what I could discern on the video, I do not know if there were any additional guests and apologize if I missed mentioning anyone.
Discussion Session Schedule
Chair Sherman said the board will meet the first Wednesday of every month for a discussion session and the Board Meetings will continue to be on the third Wednesday of the month.
Board Meeting Format – New and Current
Lloyd said the meeting was unscripted.
The discussion sessions are just that. No votes are taken. Discussion sessions are for sharing information, not for making decisions. Suggestions from property owners for discussion session topics may be given to the board.
“Anything that comes up in a discussion session will most likely come up for a vote in the following Board Meeting,” stated Sherman. An item can be added to the new business agenda and it would become a discussion item in the next discussion session.
Beginning with the next board meeting, property owner comments will be added to the agenda. All COVID guidelines of distancing, etc. will be followed. The microphone will be sanitized between speakers.
To attend discussion sessions or the regular board meeting, reservations must be made by contacting Ella Scotty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to speak to the board, please let Ella know when you make your reservation for the meeting.
As always, the board may not have an immediate response to your comment or question as further research may be necessary.
Sherman assured property owners that the rumors about the board becoming less transparent were not true. This rumor came as a result of Sherman saying that “actions have consequences.”
Sherman explained, “someone sent a communication to the board and a board member responded. That is a confidential communication between the board member and the property owner. The information is not to be distributed publicly.”
In further detail, the chair said he was miffed because a property owner took it upon himself to pass the information to somebody else who put it in the public domain.
“Those types of actions will most likely result in the board choosing not to respond to those kinds of emails from those people in the future,” Sherman concluded.
Vice-chair Omohundro asked how the board could provide better communications to the community. Things sometimes are misinterpreted and people think the POA has done something wrong and that is not necessarily the case.
General Manager King responded, “This is our biggest challenge.” Everybody doesn’t read the emails and posting it in the Voice is yesterday’s news. Explore the Village website is the best option. People have to be trained to go to the website to find updates.
Director Avila said, “the challenge with that is that you are then asking people to basically ‘pull’. You are asking them to perform an act themselves and it is not the same as when we ‘push’ out information to them.”
GM King said that going forward operations are going to do a better job in communicating information.
Director Corry suggested that certain updates should go out by themselves because the weekly digest is already long and updates are missed.
Garrison said there are a lot of “I heards” and “I heard” is more often wrong than right.
Sherman asked people to please be civil in their communications. The board has received some very disturbing emails and this cools the board’s enthusiasm for wanting to respond to these types of messages.
Golf Reserve Funds From Surcharge
Charles said he met with Juan Nunez, Superintendent of Balboa and Coronado Golf Courses, regarding the Balboa Golf Course. Juan is doing a “fantastic job.” King asked Juan, “tell me what you need and what would be the best way to spend the reserve fund?”
Juan said, “the best way to attack the Balboa Course is in a way where we can really see a difference. The cart paths are in bad shape. If you can give me $25,000, I can fix almost all the big cart path issues.”
Garrison agreed that this was a good short-term solution.
Sherman said the money for this project will come from the funds collected from the golf surcharge.
King said we have really good people on staff and we need to find ways to help them do their job better.
Director Denger clarified that the funds for this project were coming from the Golf Surcharge Fund and not the General Reserve Fund.
The pickleball courts have issues. The repairs are not covered under warranty.
King said there are three options:
- Continue patching. King felt we are “chasing our tails” by doing this and he is not a fan of this. It doesn’t look good.
- Strip the courts down and put the “correct amount of layers down.” It depends on who you talk to, there are different recommendations as to the number of layers. Charles was leaning towards four layers.
- Strip the courts completely down and seal, caulk all cracks, and paint.
King felt the best approach would be to strip courts 7 and 14 and use them for testing options 2 and 3 to determine which is the best option. Applying the layers will be a more expensive option.
In the meantime, the POA will continue to patch the courts until the best solution is determined. The patching product will be purchased at cost.
All of the repairs will have to be timed according to weather and “play” issues.
There has been a lot of interest regarding what the General Manager has been doing. Charles said, “At the next board meeting, I will give everybody a good taste of what I have been doing.”
“We did not get into the condition we are in now overnight and we need to responsibly unwind this tight ball,” explained King. “The biggest message I want to get out is that I am working with the board, hand-in-hand. We are going to work together and get this thing right,” declared King.
Stephanie Heffer, Director of Placemaking and Development, gave an update on the gates. Traffic studies have been done at the east and west gates. There were 2,200 cars entering the east gate daily on July 9-16. At the west gate on July 17-24 there were 4,300 cars entering the village.
Heffer said, “ninety-four percent of all the vehicles entering the Village are traveling above the posted speed limit. One of our first courses of action will be to slow the cars down. It is dangerous and makes it hard for the gate personnel to do their jobs. We are planning on installing rumble strips.”
The goals of the gate program are twofold – security and protecting the members’ rights of ownership. “We want to make sure the people coming in are authorized to be here and when they get inside the gates, they use the facilities that they are allowed to use and not others.”
The gate policy will be revised. Presently there is no clear direction on the entry of non-Villagers for doctors’ appointments, banking, etc.
Decals should only be issued to verified owners of vehicles. Currently, we do not have a good process in place to verify vehicle ownership. There are some cases where people have decals for 10 or 15 vehicles and are most likely sharing the decals with friends.
Passes may be color-coded by reason for being in the Village.
Work is being done to improve the gate software system.
Visitors need to be sponsored. No longer can they come up to the gate and say they are going to an estate or garage sale.
Heffer is also looking at options to reduce the cost of the gate officers.
Garrison said there was a gate study done in 2013 and he will provide this study to Stephanie.
Heffer said, “it is a challenge. We are gating a city and that is not normal. It is a tricky process.”
The management of the gates has officially been moved from the Police Department to the Compliance Department. Sherman said, “the Police Department said they couldn’t enforce gate policy. Now the enforcement is with the Compliance Department. You should see some significant changes.”
Director Corry asked if tracking was going to be done on gate exits. Stephanie said this is where the software comes into play.
King stated, “we are looking at a very cost-effective system that works off magnetics. It is not a big gate but it is a gate for the right-hand lane. [members’ lane] It will slow things down but I think it is the right thing to do. Our gates, especially in this day and age, are what sell this place and we need to make it as safe as we can. Stephanie’s team is diving in deep and we have some things we should be able to share soon.”
Update of Budgeting Process
Wayne Foltz, Corporate Treasurer, said, “last week we finished up meeting with staff on zero-based or line-item budgeting…The budget is due next week and then Coreena Fetterhoff (accounting) and human resources will be adding the wage and benefit costs to each one of the 75 departments. From there it will be reviewed by Coreena and the General Manager. We are hoping around October 13, Coreena will bring it to the Finance and Planning Committee.” F and P will make comments and then the budget will go to the General Manager to make any needed adjustments.”
There is a question where the budget will be presented to the community. In the past, this was done at the Coronado Center but possibly this may be different this year due to COVID constraints. This normally happens a week or two ahead of the November board meeting. Then the proposed budget will be presented at the November 18, 2020 board meeting for approval.
The committees have been working on recommendations for the fee schedules.
Wayne said, “Preliminary numbers show that golf was profitable again this month as it also was last month.” He also expressed gratitude to the golf department for a job well done. We are still negative for the year.”
Garrison said there should be a way to show appreciation for the staff who are sanitizing the golf carts.
King said because of COVID, it has been a struggle with the golf carts. Golfers in different households in the past were encouraged to use separate golf carts. Present thinking is that if they drive to the course in the same vehicle, golfers should be able to ride in the same cart. Using separate carts is causing additional wear and tear on the carts, extra work for staff, and is hard on the fairway.
Foltz said Chief Operating Officer, Jason Temple, asked for additional money for road repairs. There are several roads where the blacktop has been removed and a gravel base has been laid and they need to be capped with asphalt. The cost for this is estimated to be approximately $80,000. The Finance and Planning Committee will submit a recommendation to the board for approval at the September board meeting.
Bylaw Revisions Articles V and XII
Sherman said these revisions are minor clean-up details. “Nothing is really changing with the content other than assigning something that was assigned to the Corporate Secretary for some reason to go back over to the General Manager.”
Clarification on Standing Committees
Sherman explained, “we sent out what we thought was going to be a clarification on the role and function of the committees, and today we are having clarification on the clarification.” [laughter] A separate report will be coming on this portion of the meeting.
By Cheryl Dowden, September 10, 2020
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