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POA board considers election participation

by Lynn Atkins | September 21, 2022 at 10:15 a.m.

The current assessment election was on the agenda when the board of the Bella Vista Property Owners Association met on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in a work session.

POA members in good standing received ballots in August to approve a $3 assessment increase for improved lots only. Unimproved lots -- those without a water meter -- will not be affected.

Last week, Chief Operating Officer Tom Judson told the board that it is possible there won't be enough votes to make the election valid. According to the POA's governing documents, an assessment election must include 50% of all members to be valid. On the day of the works session, Sept. 13, only 34% of ballots had been returned. Judson explained that he only has access to the number of votes cast. He doesn't know which way those votes went. Members can hand deliver their ballots until 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 4.

The governing documents do address the possibility of an election invalidated by the quorum requirement. If an election does not have 50% participation, management can immediately call for a second election. As long as the question on the ballot is the same, the second election only requires 25% participation.

Judson recommended that the board take advantage of the lower quorum number if the first election does not draw 50%. He explained that with the same question on the second ballot, all the time and expense of marketing for the first election would still be effective for the second ballot. However, he urged them to make a decision as soon as possible so that second election could be complete before the Christmas holidays.

If the election doesn't make quorum but a majority of those voting were against the increase, the second election would not be held. Judson said a second vote for a failed proposal would be a waste of money.

If a second vote is necessary, ballots would go out on Oct. 24 and the vote would close on Dec. 6 with a special meeting at 6 p.m. at Lakepoint Events Center.

Budgeting for 2023, which begins this fall, will be difficult without knowing the outcome of the election. Also, Judson reminded the board that if the assessment increase fails, the cost of an annual golf membership will have to go up. Many members want to pay that annual fee in December.

Since the board was meeting as a work session, no vote was taken but Judson recommended the issue be put on the agenda of this week's board meeting.

Also, the board heard about the public's response to a draft of the Five Year Strategic Plan. It was presented at a meeting on Sept. 7 and was followed by surveys being sent out to members.

"We've gotten some really good responses from all of them," Judson said about the surveys. He promised that all the "raw responses" to the surveys would be available to the members, although it will take some time to read and correlate them.

Board member Jason Loyd said there has been some confusion about plans for the Berksdale course. Judson assured him that the survey will include a map that indicates which section of the former 18-hole course were closed in response to a flood in 2017. Only that section -- closest to the Sugar Creek Shopping Center -- will be repurposed for other recreation. Berksdale will remain open as a nine-hole gold course.

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