By Pam Avila
GAC – QUARTERLY REVIEW
As a reminder, the primary focus of the GAC remains on HSV relationships with external jurisdictions. We work collaboratively with school, water, and fire districts; state, county and municipal governments; departments including highways, planning, broadband and law enforcement; medical facilities, services and providers; and more. To help make this happen, GAC members serve on or liaise with numerous committees outside the Village and monitor various organizations including:
- TriLakes Metro Planning Org/Highways
- City of Hot Springs
- Garland County
- Saline County MPO
- Benton GAC
- Hot Springs Downtown Association
Other key relationships are fostered through attendance at the GAC meetings and reports by:
- Superintendents of both Jessieville and Fountain Lake School Districts
- Saline and Garland County JP’s
- Exec. Director of HSV Chamber of Commerce (when there is one)
Our priorities for 2020 rollover from 2019 and are:
- Broadband – spearheaded by Greg Jones, the GAC, working with the POA, has been distributing a survey to residents to determine the extent and quality of internet and wireless services in the Village. The survey also seeks to determine those neighborhoods that have no internet service at this time. The data from this survey will be shared with Saline County officials as they pursue a share of the Rural Broadband Grant that is currently available in Arkansas. We want to recognize Greg also for his individual efforts to develop working relationships with both Suddenlink and AT&T as he lobbies hard to get better internet service to the Village.
- Health Services – Cheri Nelson, one of our newest committee members, has taken the lead in working with Good Sam’s on their annual health fair held in the Fall. In addition, Cheri has been working hard to develop an all-inclusive directory of medical and health services available in and around the Village. She promises a timely completion of the directory.
- Demographics – With Jim Zahnd as Chairperson, the 2020 Census subcommittee is gearing up for the 2020 Census. The Village Census Sub-Committee has been embraced by the Garland and Saline County Full Count Committees. There will be a significant marketing effort made over the next couple of months here in the Village to ensure that all residents participate in the 2020 Census, since the data from this Census will be used, among other things, to determine US Congressional representation boundaries.
- Preparing for the 2020 Election Year – the GAC is completing a short document (or cheat sheet) that identifies local, state and federal offices for those residents who are relatively new to the Village and are from other states with different governing structures. As elections come closer, it is important that the Village electorate continue to be educated and knowledgeable voters. Mike Hood, another of our newer members, has been spearheading this project, which is about 90% complete. The information will be posted to the GAC website for easy downloading – www.hsvgac.com.
In addition, shortly, the GAC will begin planning the 2020 candidate forums for national, state, and local candidates as well as education on key issues on the 2020 ballot. More information will be made available as we move farther into this election year.
The GAC continues to expand our understanding of what goes on outside the Village via speakers who cover a variety of pertinent topics. Thanks to the work of one of our other new members, David Childs, in early 2020 we heard from Judge Arey from Saline County as well as Randy Ort from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, who shared with us extensive information on roadway improvements of importance to the Village. In the coming months we’ll be hearing from:
- Garland County Judge Mahoney
- A panel of The Village/Garland County/Saline County Emergency Preparedness staffs
- A representative from Good Samaritan who will talk about the special needs of seniors
- A representative from Arkansas Wildlife and Fisheries
As always, residents are invited to attend any of the GAC meetings. The meeting information and speaker for each month is posted on the home page of the GAC website – www.hsvgac.com
And that concludes my report!
[This report was presented by Pamela Avila on February 19, 2020, to the HSVPOA Board of Directors.]