Members are free to copy and paste the below answers to Facebook posts or personal emails.
What are the critical dates for the vote?
- Members must be in good standing by July 31, 2022, in order to receive a ballot.
- Ballots will be sent out on, or soon after, August 10, 2022.
- Voting concludes on October 4th, 2022.
- The results of the vote will take place on October 4th at 6 p.m. at Lakepoint.
If the assessment increase is approved, when will it become effective?
The increase would go into effect March 2023, if approved by the community and Board of Directors.
What is required for the assessment vote to be approved?
Per the governing documents, two requirements must be accomplished for an assessment increase to be approved. First, at least 50.0% of property owners in good standing must participate in the vote to reach quorum. Second, of the votes that are cast, at least 51.0% of the votes must be in favor of an assessment increase.
Why is the assessment increase only for improved properties and not all properties?
This proposed increase in assessments is focused on keeping the amenity usage fees the same for three more years. Since improved property owners (those who live in Bella Vista) use the amenities far more than unimproved property owners, keeping the amenity usage fees the same primarily benefits improved property owners. While some unimproved lot owners use the amenities frequently, these are the exception, the majority of unimproved property owners live out of state and rarely use the amenities.
My wife and I play a lot of golf (annual membership), if the assessment increase is not approved, how much will the amenity usage fees go up?
Two annual golf memberships and two activity cards currently comes to $2,960. If the assessment increase is approved, these amenity usage fees will stay the same, but your assessments will increase by $36 per year. If the assessment increase is not approved, the amenity usage fees will increase to $3,155 which is an increase of $195.
I’m a Member and I don’t use the amenities at all. Why should I support this assessment increase?
Have you walked on any of the trails? Used the dog park? Have you been to any of the restaurants? Have you taken your children or grandchildren to the park? Do you enjoy the beauty of our valley with its manicured golf courses? Do you love our peace and quiet and wildlife? If any of these questions rings true, then you have been enjoying the amenities of Bella Vista. We hope every Member enjoys the amenities and has a sense of community and shared interest in maintaining this beauty. We ask for your support. Keep in mind, while you may not use the amenities, possibly your neighbor does, or possibly the individual that purchases your home years from now is drawn to Bella Vista because of the amenities.
Who cares about golf or tennis? I don’t have the time or interest. Count me out.
Not all Members use the amenities, but we really do live in a fantastic community with 7 lakes, 7 golf courses, 3 recreation centers, a beach, pickleball, and so much more. We don’t think a community such as ours can be found or duplicated anywhere else! We believe the value of our property is supported by and depends on these Member-owned common property amenities. In turn, we hope all Members will support these community assets where they live.
What happens if the assessment increase is not approved?
If the assessment increase is not approved, we will unfortunately have to increase many of the amenity usage fees. These amenity usage fee increases could result in a member having to pay more in the long run to play golf, register their boat, use the fitness facilities, etc.
The information states there will be no amenity usage fee changes until March 2026. Does this mean there will be a fee change in 2026?
The current amenity usage fee structure was established in March of 2020. If the assessment increase is approved, the same amenity usage fee structure will be guaranteed until March 2026. In other words, the amenity usage fee structure will remain the same for six straight years. It is impossible to determine if there would be an increase in fees in 2026, but having the same fees for six years provides outstanding value to our membership.
Will the POA cast the votes for the POA owned lots?
Bylaw, Article X, Section 2 prohibits these votes from getting cast.
Can we prohibit unimproved property owners from voting?
The governing documents state that all members in good standing (improved lot owners and unimproved lot owners) are eligible to vote. Excluding unimproved lot owners from voting would make the vote invalid.
Go away POA. The POA should be dissolved and the City should take over the operation of all amenities.
This is an unrealistic goal. Per Article XV of the Declaration, “two-thirds of the Lots or Living Units” would need to agree to an amendment of the Declaration. In other words, owners of 26,000 of the 39,000 lots within the POA would all need to vote in favor of a change to the Declaration to dissolve the POA. To put this into perspective, the 2020 assessment campaign set a record when 19,000 votes were cast. To get 26,000 property owners to cast votes, and for all those votes to agree to dissolve the POA would be a near impossible feat. Additionally, the City does not have the funds to operate the amenities. Tax dollars would need to be increased substantially to fund the few amenities that would remain open.
I did not receive a ballot, what should I do?
The most common reason for not receiving a ballot is that your mailing address is not up to date. Ballots are scheduled to go in the mail on August 10th. If you do not receive a ballot a few days after August 10th, you are encouraged to call Member Services at (479) 855-8000, option 2. Members must be in good standing, current on their assessments, July 31st. If a member is not in good standing by that date, they will not receive a ballot.
If the assessment increase is approved, will the POA ask for another increase within a few years?
If the community approves the assessment increase, the governing documents prohibits another increase from taking place for at least three years. Having regular, yet small, increases in assessments every three years will allow the POA to continue to maintain the amenities we all love at a high level.
How did you come up with a $3 increase, what is the logic behind this?
Based upon the projected number of improved lots, the $3 increase per month on improved properties will generate approximately $565,000 in revenue. If the $3 increase is rejected and the amenity usage fees are raised, based upon the projected utilization of the amenities, the increase in amenity usage fees will generate approximately the same amount of revenue. In other words, the increase in assessments or the increase in amenity usage fees will generate approximately the same amount of revenue.
Is the POA staff paid appropriately or is this the reason for the assessment increase?
Earlier this year, an extensive wage study was conducted on all positions to ensure the POA is compensating our employees within industry norms and in accordance with industry standards. These standards are based upon regional trends, experience, and education.
Does Cooper have a significant number of votes which allows them to sway the overall vote?
The short answer to this question is no, Cooper does not have a significant number of votes which allows them to sway the overall vote.
There are two types of lots described in the Declaration, Class A lots and Class B lots.
- Class A lots are owned by individual members, improved and unimproved. In total, there are 36,709 Class A lots in good standing for this assessment vote. There is one vote for each Class A lot in good standing, including the Class A lots owned by Cooper. Cooper owns 26 Class A lots.
- Class B lots are developer lots. Cooper Communities is the only entity which owns Class B lots. In total, there are five Class B lots. For each Class B lot, Cooper receives 10 votes per lot, for a total of 50 votes.
For the assessment vote to be approved:
- A quorum of 50% of Class A lots in good standing must be reached, with at least 51% of the votes cast voting in favor of the increase.
- Separately, for the assessment vote to be approved, a quorum of 50% of Class B lots in good standing must be reached, with at least 51% of the votes cast voting in favor of the increase.
- In calculating the votes cast, Class A votes are NOT combined with Class B votes. The votes are handled separately.
- Cooper owns 26 lots in good standing, out of 36,709 total lots in good standing. Cooper’s Class A lots DO NOT receive 10 votes per lot. Clearly, Cooper does not have enough lots to sway the overall vote.
- Cooper controls all the Class B votes. This control over the Class B votes can’t force an assessment increase upon the community.
In short, Cooper does not have a significant number of votes which allows them to sway the overall vote.