Holiday Islanders vie for two commission seats

Friday, November 18, 2016
Pat Elwood, from left, introduces candidates for the Dec. 6 election for two open seats on the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners. Candidates Joe Lawrence, David Makidon and Pam Nitsch were speaking at a Holiday Island Homeowners Association-sponsored forum at the Clubhouse on Monday evening. Incumbent candidate Linda Graves, whose seat is up for re-election, was absent because of a scheduling conflict. Makidon is also an incumbent. (Photo by David F. Dempsey)

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- Incorporation, marketing and spending on infrastructure vs. amenities were among the topics as three candidates for the Board of Commissioners answered questions during a forum in the Clubhouse on Monday. The Holiday Island Homeowners Association, as always, hosted the forum.

The three candidates were Joe Lawrence, three-year incumbent David Makidon and Pam Nitsch. Six-year incumbent Linda Graves was absent. The forum was originally planned for the week before until it became clear that it would conflict with the general election. Apparently Graves had booked a vacation before the forum date was changed. The two positions that will be sought in the Dec. 6 election are those now occupied by Graves and Makidon.

On the question of incorporation as a municipality the three candidates were in favor of it but with different ideas on how and when it should be done. Lawrence called incorporation inevitable and said it should be done as soon as possible.

Makidon pointed out that incorporation would bring in state funding that is now unavailable and would make marketing Holiday Island much easier, but he said the decision should go to the people.

Nitsch said representatives from here should further study other suburban improvement districts that have incorporated to gain from their experience in the process. That idea has gained some support in recent BOC meetings.

On marketing, Makidon said growth is essential and that valuable help in marketing might be possible at low cost with help from graduate students from the University of Arkansas. He also stressed the importance of only selling lots for their true value to help keep homeowner properties from further declining in value.

Nitsch said she had found that buying a lot to build on was increasingly less attractive because lower property values are making it more economical to buy existing housing.

Lawrence spoke of the need for marketing, pointing out that visitors to Eureka Springs and Branson often have never heard of Holiday Island.

"We need to be growing, not shrinking. The word needs to get out," he said.

On the question of spending on amenities vs. spending on infrastructure, Nitsch pushed in favor of infrastructure. She said that spending on amenities and marketing won't help if the first thing visitors see here are potholes in the roads.

Makidon reminded the audience of the current economic situation saying "This year we (the BOC) have put aside a few infrastructure items in order to balance the budget."

A balanced budget plan is awaiting a deciding vote next Monday.

Approximately 100 people attended the forum.

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  • Amenities that only serve a few of the HI property owners won't make much difference to most who would consider buying at HI.

    Balancing the budget at HI is a challenge when the amount of assessments collected goes down every year when people abandon their properties.

    Holiday Island is on a death spiral unless the BOC is willing to make major changes to how HI operates. It is time to expect residents to pay for the amenities they use and not subsidize their usage.

    -- Posted by Larryh on Tue, Nov 29, 2016, at 8:21 PM
  • I don't understand why people want Holiday Island to keep growing. All that would do is increase the strain on utilities and add more traffic on roads. If you want to increase property values make it a gated community and give property owners a key-card for entry and forget about incorporation.

    -- Posted by mexSpeedWrench on Wed, Nov 30, 2016, at 7:39 AM
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