HISID addresses quit-claims requests

Thursday, July 5, 2012

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- In a special meeting Friday, the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners tackled questions from the district manager about how to handle quit-claim requests and gave an answer to a request by property owner Dave Bischoff.

District Manager John Kennedy wanted to know how to proceed in terms of property owners who want to quit-claim their lots to the district. He said he has four requests for quit claims on his desk.

"The cost to quit claim is $125 to have our attorney review it and check for a clear title," he told the board. "Even if 2011 is clean, there will still be 2012 taxes on it, usually about $87 per lot, so it's close to $200 to get a quit-claim deed."

Property owners quit claim their lot at the county courthouse without going to the district or an an attorney, said staff member Regina Reynolds. She added that at that point it is no advantage to the district to do a title search unless someone wants to buy the lot.

Fees for quit claimed lots the district may want to research and keep come out of the attorney fees portion of the budget, but the board noted that line item is "shot," so they will have to come from elsewhere in the general fund.

The board voted to approve Kennedy going ahead with paying "reasonable fees" to the district's attorney to process quit-claims.

As for lot sales, Chairman Linda Griswold noted that Eben Daggett of American Land Co. will be at the July 23 work session to answer questions about possibly selling Holiday Island lots. American Land sells lots for Cherokee Village, Horseshoe Bend and Ozark Acres retirement communities.

Whether the district should foreclose on lots with overdue assessments was also discussed. Commissioner Bruce Larson asked what advantage the district has in foreclosing if it has to pay money to do it.

"If we do not foreclose and word gets out, any property owner could decide not to pay assessments, and if you do not swim or golf, what incentive do you have to pay your assessments?" Kennedy asked.

The board held a discussion about property owner Dave Bischoff's request at the June 18 work session that his list of questions about assessment issues submitted in November 2011 be a given a formal, written answer.

Griswold said she felt the board had given an answer, but wanted the whole board to weigh in on whether they felt they had satisfied Bischoff's request. Griswold did not allow public comment on this issue.

David's wife, Kathy, has also asked several assessment questions of the board over the last several months.

Commissioner Ken Ames said he thought the board had done "everything possible" to answer Bischoff's concerns and considered the matter closed.

Linda Graves said she had "been struggling" with the issue, but as to the matter of writing a formal letter, she referred to the board's Code of Regulations, quoting from Sec. 2-34c, which specifies that the board acts only by "resolution, regulation, motion or contract," and the board is not obligated to write a letter.

"Not that I don't think we should answer the Bischoffs' questions," she said, adding that board members could speak with them individually.

Bruce Larson, Graves and Ames acknowledged the Bischoffs' work on the assessment issues. Larson admitted he thought some things that had been done in the past were "questionable" or even "wrong." But commissioners felt the district should move forward.

"Everything done in the past is a matter of public record," Graves said.

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