Looking To The Future

Both Questions DENIED

We are extremely disappointed with the assessment vote results. With so much of our POA membership currently enjoying our Bella Vista amenities, we are surprised that more members do not see the immediate need to rejuvenate our community.  At this time the Board of Directors will have to evaluate what future steps need to be taken.

The Bella Vista Rejuvenation Plan proposed by the Board is an investment in our collective futures. As you know, we have a limited number of revenue sources to cover the growing operational expense of our community.  We will continue to do the very best we can in managing that need with the revenue available.  However, at some point in the future, we will need to look at the total expense associated with maintaining our current level of membership services and facilities and may need to reduce that number based on member use and affordability. We all lose if our community becomes unable to provide the level of services and recreational amenities our POA members want and deserve.


Click the question to find the answer.

Why do we need an assessment increase?

  • Deterioration: Bella Vista community amenities have become worn-down or outdated, largely due to the fact that membership assessment fees have not been increased in 16 years.
  • Property values: This aging infrastructure is having a negative impact on property values in Bella Vista, with home buyers choosing to purchase in areas with more modern, attractive amenities. The assessment increase could be considered an investment for their home, which for most property owners is their largest asset.  This reasonable increase in assessments will be used to rejuvenate Bella Vista, which should result in an increase in property values which will exceed the increase in assessments.
  • Competition: The areas around Bella Vista are seeing a lot of growth, and that’s due in part to their attractive and high-quality facilities. Bella Vista’s facilities need to be updated to stay current and competitive.

This increase is too high.

  • Keep in mind, there has been no increase in assessments since 2001. If the assessments on improved properties had been increased each year by a modest 2.1%, the combined increase over this 16-year period would result in the same amount the Board is asking for.  A valid analysis considers the entire 16-year history.
  • By increasing our assessment fees, this will reduce the pressure on increasing amenity usage fees (green fees, gym fees, etc.)
  • The proposed increase would result in assessments for Bella Vista of $33 on improved properties, which is very low compared to Hot Springs which charges $65 and Savannah Lakes which charges $101 (both Hot Springs and Savannah Lakes are Cooper Communities).

Where did the all the money come from for Lakepoint and Scotsdale?

Lakepoint and Scotsdale are being funded through reserves.

What are the critical dates for the vote?

  • Members in good standing will be determined as of August 23.
  • Ballots will be mailed and emailed to members starting September 1.
  • Votes must be received prior to November 1 at 4 p.m.
  • Results will be shared on November 1 at 4 p.m. at Riordan Hall.

Why are there two separate questions on the ballots?

  • By having two questions, this provides our property owners with options. While we hope you vote in favor of both questions, some property owners may vote in favor of one but not the other.  At the end of the day, every property owner has an equal vote.
  • An equally valid question is why have the questions previously been bound?  There is nothing in the governing documents which stipulates that they should be bound.  What is specifically covered in the governing documents is that every property owner has an equal vote, whether they own an improved lot or unimproved lot.

I’m on a fixed income, and there was no increase to Social Security this year. Why would you increase assessments in the same year there was no increase in Social Security?

The last assessment increase took place in January 2001.  Since 2001, there have been 12 increases to Social Security.  The cumulative increase to Social Security over this period has been 38.1%, and the amount of the proposed increase to assessments is 37.5%. If you consider the whole timeframe from 2001 through now, the proposed assessment increase is fair and reasonable.

Why was the assessment vote not combined with the election earlier this year?

At the time of the election earlier this year, the Rejuvenation Plan had not yet been completed. The Rejuvenation Plan forms the basis on which the increases of $9 for improved properties and $3 for unimproved properties are based.  Without the final Rejuvenation Plan in hand, the Board would not have been able to determine what increases were needed.

What happens if only one or neither of the proposed increases are approved?

If this were to happen, the Rejuvenation Plan would have to be reduced significantly, and projects would have to be canceled or delayed.

If we have funds in reserve, why do we need more money to come from an assessment increase?

The entire Rejuvenation Plan will cost the POA $30.1 million over a five-year period. Funds from reserve will cover $6.7 of the total expenditure.

Why did the Board not gather input or insight from the community prior to making the decision to seek an assessment increase?

Board members are elected by the community, and they represent the interests of the community. In their role, at times, they are required to make challenging decisions for the betterment of the entire community.  At the end of the day, no assessment increase can be approved without an affirmative vote of the membership.

If the assessment increase is approved, when will it become effective?

  • The increase would be effective January 2017.

The Bella Vista POA has opened up our pools, gyms and lakes to nonmembers. Why should I vote for an assessment increase when the Bella Vista POA is allowing non-members to crowd us out of our amenities?

The Bella Vista POA does not allow non-members into our pools, lakes and gyms unless they are the guests of property owners. One of the main reasons the Bella Vista POA needs to rejuvenate our pools and recreation amenities is because many of our members now take their families to Rogers (or Bentonville) to enjoy their updated swim recreation centers. This rejuvenation plan is not to please non-members; it is designed for our members.

If the assessment increase is approved, how long until the POA asks for another increase?

The Board of Directors has developed a detailed five year Rejuvenation Plan. If the assessment increase is approved, the Rejuvenation Plan would be fully funded and there would be no need to increase assessments until at least 2022.

What exactly will be done with the money?

The funds will be dedicated to rejuvenate and revitalize the buildings and infrastructure of Bella Vista. The Board and Management have developed a detailed Rejuvenation Plan for the entire community.  The Rejuvenation Plan is available on the POA’s website.

How much will golf receive?

The Rejuvenation Plan shows that 45% of the spending will be allocated to golf improvement. Our golf courses are our largest asset, hence the significant impact on the overall Plan.

What is the Board’s vision for the future?

The Board is committed to revitalizing and rejuvenating Bella Vista. One Board member stated the vision succinctly, “we need to put the bella (beauty) back into Bella Vista.”  Please review the Rejuvenation Plan to get a better understanding of what projects are planned.

I have questions – who can I call?

The Coffee and Questions gatherings on August 9 at 10 a.m. and August 23 at 6 p.m. will focus on the assessment increase, with both meetings taking place at Riordan Hall.

Why is the pricing assessment fee structure 2-tiered?

  • This structure was established through a vote of the community 16 years ago. It’s very common in planned communities similar to ours to have a 2-tiered system.
  • Typically, lot owners do not utilize the amenities as often as home owners. The variance in fees is a fair reflection of that usage.

If I vote in favor of the assessment increase, how long will the Board wait until another increase is asked for?

While there is no way to predict the future, the Board and Management have developed a detailed five-year plan for Bella Vista. As a result, it is reasonable to anticipate that another increase would not take place for at least six years or more.  Additionally, the governing documents prohibits the Board from seeking another increase for a period of at least three years.

What is the cost to the POA to hold the vote for an assessment increase?

At the July Board of Directors meeting, an expenditure of $36,500 was approved.

Do we have to do all the projects? I like some of the projects that are proposed, but not all of them.

Keep in mind that Bella Vista is a large and diverse community of approximately 30,000 residents. Certain projects will have more appeal to younger families, while other projects will have more appeal for retired couples.  To favor one portion of the community and ignore another would not be a reasonable approach.

Why should we “subsidize” the amenities for non-member use?

  • This statement is simply not valid. Members account for the vast majority of the usage of our amenities.  When a non-member uses an amenity (i.e. golf), for the majority of the time, they pay more than what a member pays.  There are a few specials where a non-member pays the same amount as a member, yet these specials are limited.
  • Allowing non-member golfers to play our courses helps improve the bottom line of the golf courses and helps reduce the pressure on increasing fees for our members. Bringing in funds from the outside helps our community and should be encouraged.
  • Since the founding of the community in 1965, non-members have been allowed to experience the amenities, and many of those who experienced the amenities as a non-member eventually became members.

Has the POA ever conducted a non-biased audit of the POA books and accounting?

Yes, every year the POA hires an outside accounting firm (BKD) to conduct an audit on our books. The audits are available on the POA’s website, in the About section under Reporting.

Why should I vote for an assessment increase when the Bella Vista POA is letting nonmembers play golf for less money? I know people who are unimproved lot owners, who don't want their lots any longer - because they can play golf for less money as a non-member.

This is a marketing decision based on proven results. Similar to Cooper marketing efforts in the past, we continuously need to encourage visitors to experience our amenities – in an effort to recruit them as property owners. This formula (standard practice in the industry) is highly effective and will ensure we remain a viable community.

Here are some facts to also consider: The fees non-members pay are in fact higher than what members pay. The statement of non-members paying less than a member is simply incorrect. During prime-time hours (full price hours) non-members pay 18% higher fees than members, ($9 a round). The Bella Vista POA is promoting non-prime time golf specials and the fees are lower during those specific hours. These occasional discount/promotions are also available to Members. At no time during these promotions would a non-member be able to purchase a tee time for less than a Member. These tees times are an untapped source of income for the Bella Vista POA. As we fill up those (now empty) tee times, rates will naturally climb.

With the Rejuvenation Plan, are you spending all of the reserves the POA has on hand?

The POA will still have a $1.3 million reserve fund for emergencies, plus an additional reserve fund to cover current liabilities.  These combined reserves would allow the POA to continue to operate if a catastrophic emergency were to occur.

Note:  As the Board and/or Management fields questions, additional questions will be added to this list.