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POA board hears good news

by Lynn Atkins | April 28, 2021 at 5:28 a.m.

There was good news for the Bella Vista POA board of directors during its monthly meeting last week. The Food and Beverage Department and the Legal Department provided it.

While presenting the regular financial report, POA treasurer Stacie Higgins asked Tommy Lee to talk about food and beverage.

In spite of covid restrictions, the division finished ahead of the budget during the first quarter of 2021, Higgins said. At the end of March, the division was better than budget by $58,000. Lakepoint exceeded budget by $13,000, and BV Bar and Grill exceeded budget by $34,000 in food sales. Combined liquor sales exceeded the budget by $17,000. The banquet area was just short of budget, primarily due to the covid restrictions still in place.

A renovation at the Highlands Clubhouse expanded the bar and has been very popular, Lee said. It was designed to fill a need for a neighborhood "hangout" on the west side of Bella Vista, he said.

Both Bella Vista Bar and Grill at the Country Club and Lakeside received top grades from a program called Hilton Honors, with higher scores than other area restaurants.

Lee said each POA venue appeals to different segments of the population. A fourth venue, the proposed Gear Garden at Blowing Springs Park will appeal to another.

He said a talented staff has helped.

"Tommy doesn't do good at patting himself on the back," Higgins said, "the Bar and Grill and Highlands -- a huge success. Three thousand dollars each in the black, making money which we didn't expect. Lakepoint cut it (expected losses) in half."

More good news came when General Manager Tom Judson reported on non-producing lots. In early 2016, 17.3% of lots were not paying assessments. That number included 6,038 delinquent lots and 702 owned by the POA.

The legal department and the accounting department got busy and now, there are 7.9 percent of non-producing lots. In Hot Springs Village the percentage of non-performing lots is 34.4 percent.

Compared to 2016, some 3,668 more lots are paying their assessments, Judson said, that will bring in an additional $704,000 in assessments each year. He hopes to get the number lower, he said.

The POA still owns 20 or 30 lots that don't pay an assessment but, in some cases, those lots can't be sold for legal reasons.

The board voted to approve the purchase of a new software system. Judson said that the POA used a consultant to help find the best system. A group of key employees was also involved in the software decisions.

During the open forum, Dan Berghamer, who is running for a seat on the board, asked about the software's ROI (return on investment).

Since the software will improve member experience, it's difficult to calculate the ROI, Judson said. Members will be able to use a smartphone as an activity card and be able to arrange guest passes and reserve their spot at recreation centers on the phone. It will improve service at all the restaurants, saving time and cutting back on errors.

The marketing department will be able to generate reports that could be used for targeted advertising. The pro shops will be able to send text messages when a frost delay is announced.

At last week's work session, Judson said the cost would be $317,500 and explained that several departments cut their budgets to pay for the upgrades.

While reporting on a special meeting, vice-chair Mary Sinkus read a statement about Board Member David Whelchel who was asked to record an apology for both another board member and the general membership. An allegation of misconduct was filed by a property owner against Director Whelchel, alleging Whelchel violated Policy 2.06 -- Member Conduct. His apology was posted on the POA website and the organization's Facebook page.

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