Most readers are probably aware that our board of directors recently licensed our common property to the city. The city, in turn, has taken $3.9 million from the Walton Family Foundation to build 50 miles of public trails throughout central Bella Vista. When we take money from any outside entity it never comes without strings attached. When we take money, we are in a very real sense selling part of our town and part of our sovereignty. The next time that entity wants something from us, it will be even harder to decline. And before you know it, that entity has more control over our town than many of us are comfortable with. That's already happening in Bella Vista.
The Bella Vista Declaration and Protective Covenants state that the board may not "dedicate or transfer" our common property to any public agency without a 51 percent vote of the membership. The board argues they did not dedicate or transfer our property; they only licensed it.
Therefore, they say, a vote of the membership was not required. That's like me telling you that I didn't steal your car; I only borrowed it without your permission. The result is exactly the same. We've lost control of our common property due to the poor decisions of our board.
What is the membership getting in return for the loss of our common property? We're getting an invasion of privacy, for one thing. Some members are reporting groups of people walking and riding the trails late at night. Some of the trails are within a few yards of members' homes. We're getting cars illegally parked on both sides of our dangerously-narrow roads. And, as reported in the March 27 Vista, we're getting an uptick in drug-related crime. Not much of a bargain for the membership.
The board of directors has argued that this mass influx of visitors will bring needed tax revenue to our town. This is erroneous. Mayor Christie reported at the March 18 city council work session that tax revenue was actually down from this time last year. What other tall tales does the board expect us to believe?
If you're concerned about Bella Vista becoming another uninhabitable town like Branson, you have the chance to do something about it beginning April 12. That's the date ballots will be mailed out and online voting will begin for three new board directors. Make no mistake, this is the single most important election in the history of Bella Vista. This election will determine the future direction of our town.
If you missed the candidate forum on March 19, I urge you to search YouTube and watch it online. In the video, you will find the incumbent directors who gave away your common property without your consent, and you will find those candidates who want to listen and respond to the desires of the membership.
Please cast your vote carefully.
Bella VistaEditorial on 04/03/2019
Print Headline: Strings Attached