HISID board barely passes Reg. 42 for golf, swimming
HOLIDAY ISLAND -- On a split vote of 3-2, the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners passed Reg. 42 Monday, which adds membership classifications for non-property owner golf. It also opens up access to the campground. (Ed. note: The foregoing sentence is a correction of our Feb. 26 print edition, which incorrectly states non-property owner memberships are also being offered for the swimming pool. The swimming pool is not open to non-property owner memberships; it is open to them as guests of property owners, however. Carroll County News apologizes for this error and regrets any confusion it may have caused.)
Until Monday, Commissioner Greg Davis was the lone voice on the five-member commission against opening the community up to non-property owner privileges. But Chairman Ken Ames said Monday he spent a lot of time thinking about the issue. While the advantages are that it may bring in more revenue, he said there are two disadvantages, one being the legality of it under state statute in terms of what a suburban improvement district can do, which is one of the issues in question in the Bischoff v. HISID lawsuit
"Do we need another controversy at Holiday Island?" Ames asked. "I think we have enough as it is going on.... Do we want to create something else that maybe we're not sure of?"
But the issue that really made him think twice, he said, was the fact that non-property owners don't have a "stake in the game" in Holiday Island.
"They have no vested interest in what's actually occurring here," he said. "They're only here for the golf. We don't need somebody here just for the golf; we need people here to have a vested interested in exactly what's going on in Holiday Island, and folks, I'm not in favor of offering non-property owners anything."
Commissioner Bruce Larson pointed out that Hot Springs Village offers non-property owner memberships and has received a lot of revenue from that. He also pointed out some property owners have bought lots just to play golf and then end up moving here, noting one couple who played golf and then decided to buy a house, "and we gained a fine member of the community."
After more discussion, the board voted 3-2 to approve Reg. 42 on an emergency clause, Ames and Davis voting nay.
The board heard from Sam Warren, a state plumbing inspector from the Arkansas Department of Health, who told them that without a building inspector working under the direction of the Holiday Island Planning Commission, the district itself will have to provide a licensed plumbing inspector to ensure new construction and remodels involving plumbing comply with state code. He said Holiday Island does have enforcement authority because it falls under state law applying to any entity that runs a public water system.
He said there is minimal involvement for someone to be certified: two days' training and a $25 license fee.
He said he could do inspections until the district has someone in place.
The board approved getting an inspector trained and licensed as soon as possible.
In other business, the board:
* Approved the new contract for law enforcement with the Carroll County Sheriff's Department. Salary will be based on hours worked, and benefits for vacation, sick leave, training, holidays and overtime will be provided. Holiday Island will also provide vehicle insurance, maintenance, equipment and depreciation, as well continue to pay a uniform allowance, gasoline and housing. It is unclear from the sheriff's letter what the term of the contract will be.
* Heard Ames read the Arbor Day Proclamation.
* Heard Larson present statistics on website visits.
* Heard Hartley's manager's report. He expressed two major concerns for this year in terms of funding: leak detection and attorney fees for the lawsuits. He said the district can take a loan, cut expenses or take money from reserves.
He also expressed concerns that this year's assessment collections will go down "because of the litigation. I worry that people will decide not to pay their assessments until the lawsuits are decided." He noted that water sales last year were flat even though Arkansas had one of the worst droughts in its history. Ames concurred that "it's going to be a challenging year."