Property owners question new assessments

Saturday, November 26, 2011

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- Public comments took up the largest part of the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners work session Monday as three property owners made lengthy presentations on the recent Assessment of Benefits (AOB) process and timeshare fees.

Tony Germani passed out handouts signed by himself and five other property owners questioning the process used by assessor Tom Reed.

He said Reed made "a series of confusing calculations" to come up with a figure of $5,000 being added to the assessed value of an improved lot, with no explanation.

Germani said the suggested levy of 5 percent of the assessed benefits asks property owners to pay for infrastructure already paid for over the years.

"The only debt we have is the wastewater treatment plant," he said.

He asked other questions about how the AOB differentiates between improved and vacant lots, the 40.9 percent increase in levy on improved lots and the 13.3 percent decrease on vacant lots.

"The board continues to focus on raising the tax burden on resident property owners by raising assessments and amenity charges as means of increasing revenue each year," German said. "There appears to be little interest in generating outside income."

Kathleen Bischoff also gave handouts questioning the AOB process. She was a real estate agent and a county employee in Wisconsin who worked with assessors in listing property in the county books.

"I witnessed penalties on assessors who did these incorrectly, even though unintentionally," she warned.

Her husband, Dave Bischoff, expressed concerns about Table Rock Landing time shares and the developer not paying their fair share of assessments. He suggested a return to 10 times the regular assessment rate on the time shares, and also apply it to all those who rent out their homes on a nightly basis.

As for assessments being waived on inventory, foreclosed and quit-claimed lots the developer holds, Bischoff said, "It would appear these are not validly exempt as per the state," he said. "We need to find out if this is legal or if this is just sitting there as a time bomb. That's $400,000 that hasn't been paid."

In its discussion of the final pass 2012 budget, District Manager Kevin Crosson said the income figure, based on the advice of the auditor, now shows assessments from all 5,100 lots, and any known or anticipated uncollectible assessments are shown as an expense.

The income figure is based on an assessment levy of 5 percent of the assessment of benefits for each lot. Crosson said each tenth of a percent generates $37,500. He is recommending an increase above the 5 percent sufficient to add an emergency contingency, additional capital improvements and a cost-of-living adjustment for employees.

Adjustments made to the budget now show a projected net $16,000 profit next year, with income budgeted at $4.27 million against operating expenses of $3.5 million and capital expenditures of $754,000.

Commissioner Gary Hanson suggested the assessment levy be decided by the new board coming in after the December election.

"If we set that assessment, we tie the hands of the next board," he said.

Other commissioners disagreed.

"It takes a lot of study to understand the budget, and I don't think it's fair to throw this on the new board," said Linda Griswold.

The board will hold its business meeting Monday, Nov. 28, at 9 a.m. at the district office at 110 Woodsdale Drive.

It is expected to vote on the assessment levy, the final 2012 budget, the revised amenity fees and the sale of a foreclosed lot with a house on it.

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  • It's me again folks.

    Thought I would point out that the minimum tax BOC is going to empliment is 1.94% of that paid 10 years ago. That's dang near double folks! That's not even enough for Crosson. Note what he had to say above?

    "Crosson said each tenth of a percent generates $37,500. He is recommending an increase above the 5 percent-"

    There is a reason we were told HISID "can" charge as much as 10% of value>

    We really need a new Manager.

    J. Paul Brown

    -- Posted by smokhous on Sat, Nov 26, 2011, at 10:19 AM
  • Crosson originally predicted a deficit, now surprisingly there's a $16,000 surplus. Sounds like he's 'playing' with the numbers. Employees should be grateful they have employment considering the rest of the folks that do not in this economy. Besides areas are over staffed, when it takes 7 men to fill a hole or repair a hydrant (2 working, 5 supervising), or 5 cleaning out a ditch (1 on the backhoe, 4 supervising) and tying up 4 vehicles. Considering the declined number of reg. resident golfers, it's time to re-evaluate management of the 18-hole golf course. HI would have an emergency fund had management not gone crazy spending the windfall from Nat'l Rec. when they did pay. Which amounted to 14% of past yearly budgets.

    The 1st. Sun City built was developed like HI; with time, they ran into the same issues HI is now experiencing. They revamped their priorities and are now financially secure. This is what HI needs to do!

    -- Posted by CommonSense22 on Sat, Nov 26, 2011, at 11:35 AM
  • Mr. Crosson has played with numbers since being hired. One might note, in his supposed efforts to balance the budget, he has shuffled monies from one operating budget to another, making the monies hard to track.

    Holiday Island has become a bottomless pit when it comes to sucking money out of it's citizens. An investigation of H.I., needs to be let by the Attorney General to insure the citizens rights are being protected, and the recent assessment revaluation is legal. It's rather comical listening to the board that the golf course needs to be preserved at all cost, as properties without it would be devalued and unsellable. What do they think a heavy assessment burden looks like to potential property buyers. The nine hole course on the Island needs to be closed and divided into lots for new home construction, in an effort to offset some of the expense of the 18 hole.

    Until the mindset is changed at H.I. about the attractiveness of two golf courses to lure potential lot buyers and development is changed, H.I., will always be a dinosaur with the same fate. We have to find new sources of income to make H.I., viable.

    A communities well being is judged by what it offers, and how it is governed. H.I., fails miserably in both aspects. It is time for change, and it is past time for all citizens to step up and be counted, not just the few that still think golf is our salvation. If it is the board who decides Mr. Crossons fate, then we need to elect a board responsible enough to understand job performance over friendship, is required for Holiday Island to move forward.

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Sat, Nov 26, 2011, at 12:50 PM
  • At a recent meeting of the BOC., a property owner asked if this new assessment of benefits would satisfy the money needed, or would we still have yearly increases? The reply by Mr. Crosson was yes, we would continue to have increases as needed. It

    would seem if the citizens want to see fiscal responsibility then they must become involved. H.I cannot continue with business as usual and be a healthy viable community.

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Sat, Nov 26, 2011, at 1:08 PM
  • The documents on this article are now on this site to view. They were suffering from a system hic-up PLEASE review. Kevin was terminated at today's BOC meeting. The BOC stating "It is time for a change." I would amend, it is time for a positive chance moving us in the right direction.

    Knowledge is power.

    Regars to all---------------

    -- Posted by Important to do it Right on Mon, Nov 28, 2011, at 5:23 PM
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