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Trails: The NWA Trailblazers, with financial support from the Walton Family Foundation, have spent, and continue to spend, millions to build a trail system through Northwest Arkansas, including Bella Vista. They adhere to the highest quality of construction and respect to environmental impact. The cost to property owners has been and continues to be zero. The costs for our POA to maintain the Bella Vista trails is currently $35,000 per year. That's 8 cents per property per month, from assessments. When the Back 40 is completed, this will increase to 16 cents. This is our total cost to have an amenity broadly recognized as the finest of its kind in the world.

General Economics: Our POA is a not-for-profit organization that exists to assure quality amenities for the value and enjoyment of property owners and guests. It should not be viewed from the same financial perspective as a for-profit business. Over the past few years, the board felt it made little sense to maintain large financial reserves while our amenities were deteriorating or closed, our service quality was lackluster, and our overall image and attractiveness was in relentless decline. We hired the most skilled manager we could find to rejuvenate our facilities, to rejuvenate our service culture and quality, and to adhere to the highest level of cost management. At the specific direction of the board, Tom and his staff have executed brilliantly in all aspects.

The board traded a bank balance that was providing no benefit to property owners for rejuvenated and reopened facilities that enhance the value of our community and provide enjoyment for us and our guests. If those facilities generate revenue that even approaches the costs of their operation, they will be financially superior to any amenity we maintain.

Our POA is financially sound and appropriate for an organization of its purpose. However, there is no longer a financial reserve available to be traded for further substantial rejuvenation. Such work in the future will require an assessment increase above our current level, which remains substantially lower than any community that even remotely approaches the quality, variety and beauty of what we enjoy.

Going forward, it's the board's responsibility to clearly describe specific enhancements proposed, the value to us, the costs to construct and maintain them and match that amount to the proposed increase. It will then be up to the members, through their votes, to decide if they agree.

Ron Stratton

Bella Vista

Editorial on 11/07/2018

Print Headline: Financial perspective

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