HI candidates respond to property owner questions at Homeowners forum

Friday, November 14, 2014
HI commissioner candidates prepare to answer questions at the Nov. 10 Homeowners Association forum. From left, sitting in ballot order, are Philip Elmore, Bill Noonan, Ralph Lemme and Nita Holley. Kathryn Lucariello / Carroll County News

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- The Clubhouse was nearly full of attendees at the Holiday Island Homeowners Association candidates' forum Monday night, as four candidates for two open seats on the Board of Commissioners answered written questions submitted to the moderator, both in advance and during the one-hour forum.

Moderator Mary Jo Rozumalski reminded the audience that the format of the League of Women Voters would be observed. Candidates gave opening statements in order of ballot placement and answered questions in sequence from there. Closing statements were given in ballot order.

Rozumalski said she had a "stack" of questions. Of the 25 submitted, there was time to ask 11 of them.

In his opening statement, candidate Phillip Elmore said that opening the golf course to the public, against the protests of every real estate agent in Holiday Island, had been a mistake. Of the problems Holiday Island is facing, he said there is "no quick fix, but we must elect a board member with business experience," which he has as a former developer, he said.

Bill Noonan said he has lived in Holiday Island since 2011 and is interested in what is happening with assessments in Holiday Island, that the community has great people and ideas and that "we need to take care of our own."

Ralph Lemme, an active building contractor in the community, said this is a great place to live, and the community has been improved by volunteers.

"The main thing is common sense. We need to try to sell lots," he said.

Nita Holley said she is very involved in various groups in Holiday Island, and "it makes me sad to see the split that's here." She emphasized communication.

"We don't have to agree, but we have to come to agreement."

Asked what they see as the three top issues in Holiday Island, in order of priority, Holley said water, sewer and communications. Elmore said lot sales, apathy in the community and roads and sewer. Noonan said lot sales, community involvement and roads and sewer. Lemme said roads, lot sales and the budget.

Asked about incorporating as a municipality, Noonan said, "When conditions are right, I'm all for it. There needs to be a good tax base. We're not there yet."

Lemme said he hadn't seen the studies and had no opinion. Holley also said the tax base needs to be there but is not yet. Elmore said, "If we can't even run this thing as a HISID board, we're not anywhere to being close to operate as a city."

One question asked whether, if the candidates had been on the board, they would have voted to prohibit the company doing the golf operations study from suggesting closing the nine-hole course as an option to reduce the deficit. None of the candidates answered that question but answered whether they would vote to close the nine-hole course. All of them said no.

On leak detection, Holley and Lemme said they needed to do more research. Elmore said he dealt with water systems for a living, putting in a $13.5 million waterline.

"Losing 15 million gallons a month ... is not terrible," he said. "It sounds like a lot, but it's not." He said there is "nothing to it" to fix leaks.

Noonan said progress on finding and fixing leaks had been limited to the island, and the district needs to learn how to do it in-house.

"Every water system around here leaks," he said. "The cost to run a pump is a fraction of the cost to repair a leak. We will never stop all leaks."

Several other questions were asked: what volunteer positions candidates held in the community; what should be the minimum requirements for candidacy to the board; whether the board, district manager and developer should work together; how best to attract baby-boomers to buy property; whether to put golf course operations under contract; how to address homeowners' concerns and show respect for their questions; and whether candidates would support a comprehensive plan to sell lots.

In their closing statements, candidates mostly reiterated their opening comments.

"We've got to get involved in this community," Elmore said. "There has been a lot of finger-pointing.... We've got to do something different. We have 1,700 lots in Little Rock. It took Mr. Dees 30 years to get it straight. I don't think it will take that long to fix it."

"I see some obstacles," Noonan said. "It's really pathetic the number of people who have not voted. That's an obstacle in itself. How can we help if you're not going to get involved? Volunteers are the most valuable resource we have here." He said residents should tell others about Holiday Island.

"I think this is the greatest place to live," Lemme said, adding that friends who could have lived elsewhere chose to live here. "I don't think anything's so bad it can't get fixed. I'm optimistic."

Holley called for people to vote.

"Apathy is rampant, and hopefully it's ending," she said. "A positive attitude will help because we've become this side or that side...." She added the community should advertise itself because it is a great place to live.

Early voting starts Nov. 17 at the district office. Election day is Dec. 2.

(Editor's note: A property owner videotaped this forum and has provided a link to watch it online. It can be found here. Watch for our news story of our own questions asked of the candidates. The print edition story, edited for length, will come out in the Nov. 18 Midweek edition, but the full story will be online here.)

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  • Eleven of 25 questions were asked, so they say! And how were the questions chosen? I saw a person sifting through the question from where I sat, so I guess I answered my own question.

    Watching and listening to each candidates answers, left me with the thought, only one had the answers that would make them a good board member, but I don't think that's the one that will be voted in.

    And with regards to the candidate saying tell your friends to move here and enjoy.....what, what? What would they enjoy? Paying assessment to support two golf course and keep the fees low for those who play. I believe the entire community is tired of more then 60% if they're assessments being spent on the golf deficit and new toys for it.

    Destroying the financial base that supported the 2 courses ( turned back lots/assessments)with too low a fees with too few playing, has caused it to be a financial nightmare, and the unwillingness to change is destroying this community.

    Because of the protectionism and irresponsible spending, there is only one outcome regardless of who is elected.....bankruptcy!

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Fri, Nov 14, 2014, at 4:44 PM
  • It would have been better had they used a random means to select the questions asked. Perhaps someone may wish to suggest that next time.

    I received a letter from the District Manager today stating, "You would not be granted permission to use any of HISID's properties or rights-of-way for such activity." [protest and carry signs in front of a HISID building]. I thought I lived in the United States of America, but such written statements make it appear to be more like North Korea.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Fri, Nov 14, 2014, at 7:50 PM
  • what's he going to do with no enforcement authority. He's asking for legal action.... they just keep getting worse! I would absolutely love a charge of violation of the Constitution against them so it would go to a Federal Court!

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Fri, Nov 14, 2014, at 10:09 PM
  • WHERE IS NRHIpropertyowners' COMMENTS?

    -- Posted by property owner on Sat, Nov 15, 2014, at 9:20 AM
  • Note to Kelly

    I haven't seen too many protesters ask for permission when protesting against something. It is usually a method used to gain publicity or make statement about something they think is wrong or illegal. Just my opinion.

    -- Posted by property owner on Sat, Nov 15, 2014, at 10:09 AM
  • "OUT HERE IN THE WEEDS"

    No CP, evidently 60% of the community is not tired of the deficit. Were they, it would not be so. You Folks just as well come to grips. We don't have a candidate and if we did, don't have the votes to elect.

    Listen to the candidates..! Close the nine hole, to a "man" the answer is no..! The most honorable "water" engineer Mr. Elmore declares that loosing 80% of your finished water ... "is not terrible,". Then he states there's "nothing to it" fixing leaks. Where do these people sleep at night..? In a cave..? Hanging from a tree branch..? Lecture us to "vote", get involved..! Vote for who, (or is that whom). The pat answer from the podium was to "sell lots". Doesn't that make you smile..? Sell lots..! **** that's the answer..! Just sell lots Folks..!

    Ain't gonna happen Folks. They will keep the courses afloat until the infrastructure collapses. The bonding company, (he who holds the bonds on that major cost overrun, the new sewage treatment plant). They decide we can't pay our way out, they take over and make sure they will be paid. The first order of business will be to close all the recreation facilities. Starting with the golf facility.

    Don't believe it..? As they say, hide and watch. The only thing which could head that off, (and I'm not convinced that takeover would be bad), is legal action, and I don't mean criminal. But then no one want's to step up and donate to the cause.

    Just had to say..!

    J. Paul Brown

    22 Thunderbird ROAD

    Smokhous

    -- Posted by smokhous on Sat, Nov 15, 2014, at 10:53 AM
  • Asking permission before protesting is both wise and polite. I have tried to be polite to those running things, even when it has appears to me that they have not been polite to me.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Sat, Nov 15, 2014, at 12:12 PM
  • suppose NRHI's identity was found out, and threaten to remove post? I don't know where NRHI went, but can't imagine the post being removed by choice....

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Sat, Nov 15, 2014, at 5:45 PM
  • I await to see if anyone hears from NRHI.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Sat, Nov 15, 2014, at 6:18 PM
  • I did not know that.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Sun, Nov 16, 2014, at 6:48 PM
  • What Happened to Smokehouses' comments about NRHI. Are we now in a censored government? What has happened to FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    -- Posted by property owner on Mon, Nov 17, 2014, at 8:11 AM
  • the comments considered libelous remarks from NRHI, would make one ponder the removal of any non-threatening comments, as a violation of 1st amendment rights. In my opinion It would seem censorship, the removal of Kate as H.I. reporter will now leave citizens in the dark as to what transpires at H.I.. So much for transparency that was promised once when 3 individuals were seeking election.

    What is happening here with removal of comments should be addressed by those in charge of this newspaper.

    What is more disturbing is that many citizens are wondering what has happened to our community at H.I.! This comment section was an avenue for those to express they're view point that isn't allowed at a BOC meeting. Because of possible retaliation, many of the commenters chose a name to remain anonymous.

    I believe most people posted in the hopes the BOC and Managers would understand they're concerns, and if you have never attended a BOC meeting, you would understand the need for this section of the newspaper. It serves as a valuable tool for people to vent they're frustrations of what they perceive as an impending disaster at H.I..

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Mon, Nov 17, 2014, at 9:20 AM
  • I have researched the rights of a newspaper and the first amendment. According to an article by the First Amendment Center the U.S. supreme court issued a ruling that since newspapers are privately owned entities whose editors have editorial control, they are free to promote whatever political, social, or economic view they wish. This being said I still state this comment section of CCN is the only way people have of getting their concerns out. I have been attending the boc meetings at H.I. and can say in my opinion they are a joke. Residents are given 3 min. to speak with some of that time being interrupted by the members of the board.

    I thought all communication was to come through the chairperson. Of course that person needs to have the knowledge of what is happening in the community not just the golf courses. He or She should also be able to control the members of the board not just tell the audience QUIET.

    I hope CCN continues to have the same excellent coverage of the boc meetings and other activities that Kate has given us. I assure you She will be missed. Maybe the paper should reconsider their thinking.

    -- Posted by property owner on Mon, Nov 17, 2014, at 11:03 AM
    Response by Kate Lucariello:
    You are correct, property owner, that the newspaper is a private business and can present or promote whichever views it wants, although I will say a good newspaper reserves its opinions for the editorial page, and most newspapers strive to present fair, balanced and accurate coverage of the news. That is what I have always attempted to do in my coverage on any of my beats, and I can say the same for my fellow reporters, our editors and publishers.

    A newspaper also has the right to allow, limit or prohibit letters on the editorial page of a print edition or comments following online news stories.

    That said, having been the online editor for CCN for the last 12 years, and in conjunction with the managing editor and publisher, I have firmly followed a policy of allowing comments as long as they do not violate these four prohibitions: they are not libelous or potentially libelous (which can come back on the newspaper, not just the person commenting), not obscene, not threatening to others' safety or life and not commercial (no free advertising of businesses).

    At various times we have deleted comments that violate one or more of the above, and in those cases where a poster has continued such comments and failed to heed several warnings, have suspended accounts.

    Comments have not been deleted for being angry, confrontational or unpleasant, and we do not bow to pressure to censor comments or posters just because some readers are uncomfortable with them.

    I hope this clarifies how things have been handled. As far as I know, the newspaper intends to continue to provide coverage of the Holiday Island community, will continue the HI News web page and will allow comments on stories.

  • thank you Kate for clarifying what has happened. I as well as many who comment on here appreciate a place to write an opinion.

    Feelings regarding the coming elections, and the failure to have our infrastructure repaired, while continuing to allocate money to the golf facilities, is a financial drain on the community and it has many people feeling helpless to find a solution.

    When leaders of a community ignore the public concerns and fail to act accordingly, then you have leaders who don't care, and will do as they wish. We at H.I., are at the crossroads of leaders out of touch with the community, leaving citizens frustrated as to what can be done. No one is listening! I'll say it again; NO ONE IS LISTENING!

    It's as if the BOC and Manager think this community is theirs to do with as they please, and citizens are out of line in questioning they're decisions, and they're delusional self professed authority.

    It would behoove them to listen to the public outcry, for the day is here when all citizens have had enough of the arrogant behavior, squandering of AOB, poor budgeting, questionable and unenforceable reg./resolutions and allocating 60% of collected AOB to the golf facilities.

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Mon, Nov 17, 2014, at 4:43 PM
  • My perception, if anyone cares, (especially the party who insulted me by his reference to saying the "crazies" have arrived as I entered the BOC meeting room with Ms. Bischoff and the party who publicly expressed his negative feelings that I would raise an issue concerning the election notice and my feeling that it disenfranchised women more than men) is that except for Greg Davis, no board member has ever had a one-on-one conversation with me about any of the issues. Greg Davis has made me feel welcome and even when he has disagreed with me, he has done so in a nice and professional way and I was able to learn from him.

    I heard a rumor that Greg Davis has been told by someone to stop saying HISID has money issues - that HISID has three million dollars. If there are no money issues why has road work been delayed and why is the BOC talking about borrowing money? It would be helpful to have answers to questions. The double messages from the board are confusing to property owners.

    Among property owners and business people I have spoken with about issues there seems to be an echo of Concerned Person's "NO ONE IS LISTENING!" I would add that it appears that no board member other than Greg Davis appears to care if property owners understand what is going on. I would add to the NO ONE IS LISTENING that, based on my personal experience, there seems to be open disrespect of property owners by board members.

    There are rules for how property owners are supposed interact with board members at board meetings; however, those same rules do not appear to apply to how board members interact with property owners. It appears to me to be a double standard.

    My personal appeal to the BOARD concerning my treatment was answered in letter by the District Manger, telling me if I had a problem with any board member I should speak that board member -- How would telling the person who called me one of the crazies be effective? Why is board member abuse of property owners tolerated and accepted by other board members and some property owners? All should call on to end and civil discussion to begin.

    I love the community. I love my home. My treatment - because I dared question the board - was uncalled for and appears to have been mean-spirited. Every property owner should tell the board to stop treating property owners this way.

    I believe there are, so far, two board members who owe me an apology; however, I would forgo the apology if the the board would draft a regulation that requires them to treat property owners with respect they require property owners to treat them.

    Oh, sorry why did I type all that, I forgot -- NO ONE IS LISTENING!

    Roxie Howard

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Mon, Nov 17, 2014, at 8:27 PM
  • In my way of thinking and anyone can correct me if I'm wrong, but AOB is not considered a tax, however what is paid on home and personal property to the state is. My point, it has been stated that H.I., being a SID is an elected governed community with the ability to correct situations by way of elections/recalls and the court system, so they, the legislator will not intervene in disputes. That would mean residents of this community have no representation for taxes paid to the State.

    With no representation, a citizen in a SID is at the mercy of any group who decides to take control of the governing body and force acceptance of they're agenda. So if the Constitution says we are to have representation for taxes paid.....what happened here.

    Anyone purchasing property within a SID, gives up they're right to be represented, and has no say so, even when the SID Rules and Regulations have been violated? WHAT? Am I the one that's delusional or do I not understand?

    Ay least I can take comfort like others of us in the Weeds or below the Rim, that our AOB are being used for the good of a few. Back here we have pot holes a tank would get lost in, roads edge that never gets mowed, and all the amenities are charged for. Ahhhh! But life is good and I really enjoy being retired. And a plus, I don't have the burdensome decision of how to spend my money.... because I live in a SID. But then this is just my opinion, and probably not shared by the masses!

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Tue, Nov 18, 2014, at 8:31 AM
  • NRHIpropertyowner,

    .

    You have posted elsewhere:

    "... the district manager's office ...

    NO CAPABLE, COMPETENT PERSON WILL INTERVIEW FOR THAT JOB!!!!!!"

    -- Posted by NRHIpropertyowner on Tue, Nov 11, 2014, at 9:01 PM

    .

    Then you posted:

    "I WILL STAND FIRM IN MY SUPPORT OF DENNIS KELLY ..."

    -- Posted by NRHIpropertyowner on Tue, Nov 11, 2014, at 9:28 PM"

    .

    And then you posted:

    "... LETS LOOK AT THE FACTS........

    IN THE PAST THREE YEARS HISID HAS EXPERIENCED FOUR DIFFERENT FULL-TIME DISTRICT MANAGERS. ..."

    Posted by NRHIpropertyowner on Wed, Nov 12, 2014, at 12:14 AM

    .

    And once more you posted to Play it Sam:

    "... BECAUSE YOU ENJOY REPEATING THE SAME MISTAKES OVER AND OVER AND OVER.......AND NEVER LEARNING FROM THEM ..."

    -- Posted by NRHIpropertyowner on Wed, Nov 12, 2014, at 12:43 AM

    .

    .

    Apparently you are in support of having "... the district manager's office ... NO CAPABLE, COMPETENT PERSON" in that position ???????

    If that is the case, then it appears you have gotten your wish.

    Sadly enough, the DM and the bunch of commissioners we have do seem to compliment each other in their lack of skills and disregard for basic civil rights.

    Did anybody notice that the new bunch of candidates were NOT even asked how many HISID meetings they had EVER attended?

    I'd be surprised if BETWEEN ALL FOUR of them it totaled up to be more than two or three regular meetings - TOTAL.

    Oh well, last year we got Mackadon -- who had NEVER been to a meeting. His claim to fame was he "read about what was going on in the newspaper".

    If any of these boozos think that reading a newspaper will give them adequate knowledge, they've been drinking too much of that funny Kool-Aid.

    Hell, the BOC that HOLDS the meeting has no idea what is going on.

    I guess in the greater scheme of things it really doesn't matter that much. Here in HISID all that seems to be required is that a new commissioner is in solid with the golfers, and votes to support the golf courses NO MATTER WHAT, and --- and --- and---, well gee whiz, guess that about sums it up.

    How pathetic ...........

    Welcome to Holiday Island, where everyday is a holiday !

    -- Posted by Truth or Consequences on Tue, Nov 18, 2014, at 9:08 AM
  • Thanks for the clarification Kate. With all of the "wrong doing" going on here it is easy to become a bit paranoid.

    Raising awareness here is so difficult. Most have retired here to enjoy and do not want conflict therefore choose not to get involved. This CCN online is a center of voicing opinions, frustrations and knowledgeable insights shared by those who for whatever reason have heightened awareness. I find myself looking back over much on this site to both learn and refresh myself on past happenings here.

    This BOC has "evolved" into something it has no business taking on. The order creating the district is on the H.I. website. They are very limited in what they can do. Over time, without competent guidance, they have taken on "power" they simply do not have. Cities and municipalities are governed by a vote of the people and far reaching laws. Because a SID is not indented or empowered to do what HISD is doing, elections, recalls and legal action is the property owners only recourse.

    Unfortunately, none of the candidates "get it" and although perhaps well intended whomever wins will continue pushing us down the slippery slope until we crash and burn or owners here wake up and take action. The DM is running this place like a city /municipality as well. He works at the pleasure of the BOC and has nothing to loose and a fat pay check to gain as long as the games go on. He them simply walks away.

    Roxie is right on the BOC listening to owners who come to meetings. That is one reason so few people attend. I have watched their body language and listened to their "smart-alecky" comments. They cannot even run a meeting according to protocol. They should all be ashamed of themselves.

    Your reporting will be missed!

    -- Posted by Play it again sam on Tue, Nov 18, 2014, at 10:33 AM
  • It is fascinating to see the qualifications these people try to pawn off as something they are proud of, and we in turn should be on awe of.

    I.E.

    .

    .

    Noonan: I would study each issue and vote for what is best for Holiday Island residents overall

    .

    Holley: Unfortunately, I do not know enough of the details of this expenditure to have an opinion.

    .

    13. How do you feel road paving/repairs should be prioritized?

    .

    Holley: At the present time, I do not have enough information to answer this question

    .

    .

    WHY haven't they ALREADY studied the issues --- they claim want to be a Commissioner supposedly to fix things --- the issues have been around for years, maybe decades. But apparently they are only worth becoming involved in IF you are actually already sitting on the BOC?

    .

    .

    Now ya gotta admit this one is classic:

    Lemme: I would like to spend some on security cameras at gates instead of paying for a deputy ... maybe talk to the new Carroll County sheriff.

    .

    1) Now we have one "gate" on HISID with 3 main roads coming in.

    2) Who would be "manning this/these cameras"

    3) HISID has NO police/enforcement powers ... so what purpose would they serve with no one around to do anything ---- or run any license plate numbers or .......?

    .

    .

    WAIT --- Barry the Golf Pro could set up an observation post and monitor all those sneaky FOXES that are vandalizing the car antennas (now has anybody even SEEN an antenna on a car built in the last 10-15 years?)or thos Foxes hijacking golf carts to take their cubs down to the famous Wilderness Driving Range and bat around a couple of buckets of balls (Hell, somebody might as well use it ..).

    Question: Now would the foxes be entitled to resident rates, or do they come under the CHEAPER non-owner rates ???????

    ,

    ,

    Finally:

    4. As a board member, would you risk losing personal friendships and being welcome in social groups to vote on issues in favor of the law, ethics, facts and the good of all Holiday Island property owners?

    .

    .

    Holley: It is my opinion that when striving to uphold the law, ethics and overall good of Holiday Island, true friendship will endure even when there is disagreement.

    .

    Noonan: I would study each issue and vote for what is best for Holiday Island residents overall. I am an honest, ethical person in all my dealings and that will not change. A true friend would not expect anything different.

    .

    .

    I'd be really curious if EITHER of these upright folks, who claim to want get ALL THE FACTS, went to any of the principles initiating ANY of the 3-4 lawsuits HISID's ineptness has gotten us into over the last year or so, and actually spoke with them to get the "other side's facts".

    Bet they just sat with their golf buddies and the card playing cartel, and just sucked up on all the BS & rumors the local uneducated gossips had to say, and called it a day.

    I'll believe anyone on the HISID BOC is truly interested in following the laws, equally and impartially, when I see it happen ----- it sure ain't happen' now !!

    And, sadly, I don't see any sign of anything but more "lip service" on that issue from anything this slate of candidates has had to say.

    Least that's the way it looks from here in the cheap seats ....

    -- Posted by Truth or Consequences on Tue, Nov 18, 2014, at 4:15 PM
  • The general populations doesn't know what's happening, and it doesn't even know that it doesn't know!

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Wed, Nov 19, 2014, at 4:16 PM
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