Letter to the Editor

Holiday Island: Incorporation or destruction?

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A small group of people in Holiday Island are once again trying to get the planned community incorporated. Only this time it’s different. It is on the Nov. 3 ballot. They boast promises of “free money,”code enforcement, animal control, etc., all with NO new taxes. Are they promoting a potential disaster? The Incorporation Committee, the candidates they support, HISID District Manager are all aware. They have been warned of potential problems by the Arkansas Municipal League and the HISID attorney.

The ruling on the Cherokee Village lawsuit “is important.” If the roads in Holiday Island are deemed “public” by their use it may have a major impact on HISID. Owners and residents, however, do not know this, because the Incorporation Committee and their candidates are not telling them.

The Cherokee Village lawsuit was filed by owners who have been paying their assessments to the SID which are being used for road maintenance. A similar situation of dual maintenance is planned for Holiday Island if incorporation passes. In Cherokee Village, the city owns the roads, but it’s not about ownership. It’s about, are the roads considered “public?” There is no solid proof, that all the roads are even owned by HISID. They have, however been open to the public for 50 years, with granted easements for public use. There are filings of easements to county, state and federal government (HUD). The Supreme Court has ruled on such cases brought before them, the roads are public by virtue of public use.

To incorporate before the Cherokee Village lawsuit is ruled on and a determination is made on Holiday Island road status is an invitation to disaster.

An email authored by the Incorporation Committee treasurer, a CPA (and candidate for city treasurer) to all committee members, their candidates and HISID District manager states “Using the amounts we have for projected budgets for HISID and the city, if HISID was unable to assess for roads, city turnback funds would be $476,498 less than the estimated budget for street maintenance. It would take a property tax levy of approximately 16 mills to cover that, which would require a vote by the citizens.”

The incorporation plan has gone from being riddled with “might, may, could” to an obsession, to lunacy. Chancing losing more money than the “free money” incorporating may get? Is this really about money – or is it about power and control?

If incorporation happens now, will owners look kindly on HISID trying to charge them money they do not owe? Then will come expensive litigation. Doing it now could devastate the community.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Vote with knowledge and caution.

— Kathy Bischoff

Holiday Island