Local News: Cherokee Village SID prepares for forthcoming election of new commissioners (01/26/22)

Trail enthusiast Karen Page shows Cherokee Village SIS detectives a map with a suggested trail that cuts through various pieces of vacant lot.

The Cherokee Village (CV) Suburban Improvement District (SID) met Monday, January 17 at 3 p.m. at the CV North Golf Course Center. SID Commissioners Jim Best, Joe Wagoner and Tim Lee were present along with General Manager (GM) Besty Waugh. The best thing to do was to call the orderly meeting. The current agenda and minutes of the December meeting were approved.

The first item under Old Business was an update on the ongoing issues with docks on Lake Thunderbird being moved beyond the prescribed distance into the lake. Attorney Devon Holder addressed the issue. They had spoken to one of the owners who wanted to meet with Waugh and Holder, but no date was set for a meeting.

Next, the development of Baseheart Campgrounds was discussed. There were two proposals that the commissioners considered, but Eddie Ishmael withdrew his proposal after the last SID meeting. Developer Jonathan Rhodes’ other suggestion was still under consideration. Another option raised at the December meeting was the possibility of SID, specifically GM Waugh, taking over campground improvements to pursue another revenue stream. This would be on top of all the other improvements to CV amenities that SID owns, which already comes at a significant amount of effort and expense.

Commissioner Lee was unwilling to accept Rhode’s proposal. He suggested looking further for another capable someone [who] has done campsites before?? Put out feelers instead of doing something on the spot, or we just give Betsy the job.?? Commissioner Wagoner replied, “We’ve turned so many things upside down, I’d like to see something done.”

Best voiced his thoughts: “I’m not in favor of SID taking this on at all. It’s the wrong time, the wrong place, the wrong situation.?? He added: “We need to take an objective look and approach[Rhodes]”His part of a larger plan to use timeshares and buildings he owns? I think that’s how we do it. With a bit of a calm head and see if we can’t work together constructively and move forward.?? Waggoner made a motion that Attorney Holder could draft a possible deal with Rhodes to lease the land for development.

Commissioner Lee offered an alternative plan: “I think it’s a big enough decision to wait until May for three new people to be elected and those three people can run on that basis – then they can vote with five full people who.” to get voted.??

After some discussion, which led Waggoner to withdraw his original proposal, GM Waugh summarized: “We want to wait until our new commissioners come to determine what we want to do? We won’t have one [record of a] Contract for Baseheart in 2021.?? It was requested that no decision be made on Baseheart Campgrounds until SID had a full panel of five commissioners, and then be open to new offerings. The applications were accepted.

Next, the ongoing conflict with Cherokee Village Waterworks was discussed. After the Complaint Settlement Agreement was passed and SID no longer had control over the fire service including water usage from hydrants, they completed the water bill as per the settlement and wrote a letter to that effect. CV Waterworks has not recognized the agreement and recently sent an invoice to SID.

GM Waugh had not heard from attorney Matt Bishop, who was employed by SID for the settlement and who had helped correspond with CV Waterworks. She recently received a water bill but has no plans to send a check. The Commissioners believe they have fulfilled their obligation to CV Waterworks under the Settlement Agreement and are awaiting an update from Bishop and further responses from the company.

The SID financial update was presented by Waugh, who provided handouts for the audience. The budget is also available on the SID website at cvsid.org/financials. Total annual income as of December 31 was $2,893,118.45, which was $97,733.45 below the projected 2021 budget. However, total spending for 2021 was $2,551,419.08, which was also $239,298.92 lower than forecast. The breakdown by department and institution can be found in the 2021 budget report on the SID website.

Under New Business, the upcoming election is being actively planned by the Volunteer Elections Committee, led by DeeAnn Draper. Waugh was very appreciative of all the work they put in and the progress they are making. ??We sent 10,897 [election] Announcements last week,?? said Waugh. The notice provides details of the dates, times and locations of upcoming meetings, deadlines for nominations, and details of absentee voting and early voting. The notice is also available on the SID website. The nomination meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on February 21 in the Omaha Center Auditorium, where property owners may nominate, one nominee per property owner. If the candidate is unable to attend, the owner must have a certified letter of acceptance from the candidate.

The date of the election is April 11, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Omaha Center. Early voting begins 15 days early, March 28 through April 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MF at the Omaha Center.

Each candidate must submit a CV and a statement on the campaign. Waugh suggested to the commissioners that the SID meeting in March could be a good opportunity for each candidate to speak briefly.

Subsequently, spending limits for the GM were discussed. When Waugh took up her position as GM, she initially had a limit of $5,000, which wasn’t feasible for some items like pool chemicals and repairs. Now that she had a budget, Waugh proposed approving certain budgeted items with three bids. “We would still talk about it, but I don’t want to slow down our process of getting things done,” Waugh said. The commissioners agreed that Waugh does not need to seek approval for items already budgeted. As long as there was direct communication between her and the commissioners, they agreed that she should have more freedom to free up time and materials to complete specific projects.

The next item on the agenda was property owned by private individuals that they no longer needed. Case in point: A property owner recently went into a nursing home and the title company contacted Waugh to see what needed to be done to return the property to SID. Although this was a rare occurrence, a policy had to be put in place. It is best to consult a lawyer. The commissioners mentioned that there was a precedent in such cases, to which Waugh said, “If there has been a precedent in the past, it has not been consistent.” All agreed that a new policy needed to be written.

Timeshare assessments were discussed, which Lee admitted “was a tough question”. and much research still needed to be done. Waugh mentioned that Melissa was the most informative person in the King Rhodes office regarding timeshares and would be happy to come to the February SID meeting to explain. “I feel like we could talk about it, but we don’t really have the facts,” Waugh said.

Commissioner Lee spoke about the Los Indios community on Lake Thunderbird, which may be timeshares or short and long term rentals by King-Rhodes. People staying at these locations are issued guest passes to use SID amenities, allowing them to use a facility at minimal cost, Lee said. These timeshares and rents do not pay any contributions to SID. ??They were not part of Cooper’s SID at the time,?? explained Lee. “They had their own board and kind of did their own thing.”

The concern Lee had was that people from outside of Cherokee Village would come in and do the same thing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it brings in some revenue. Lee asked himself: is this going to continue? These are things we need to talk about. If Los Indios rather than ??Non-SID?? place, then we need to figure out if we should offer them associate membership??? Many discussions followed with many questions about the use of lakes, golf courses and other facilities. They agreed that a presentation by Melissa in King-Rhodes will help clear up some of the issues.

The hall was opened to the public and Karen Page, representative of the Walking Committee, spoke first. She brought with her a map showing the floor plan of Cherokee Village, showing community property and private property. There were acres and acres of communal property compared to the areas of private ownership. Community ownership encompasses areas that for whatever reason still remain undeveloped, the type of property that is perfect for hiking, exploring and running. Page suggested connecting the various common lots with paths. “This is an excellent opportunity for me, a golden opportunity when you think about it. It’s just about going into the forest and clearing a path. ? suggested page.

Commissioner Lee questioned whether private properties where the proposed path might cross would be a concern. Would it enhance or detract from property value? Page said the proposed trail would not pass through private property, to which Lee replied, “Not yet.” He said a trail that cuts through an owner’s backyard could actually be a bonus and provide a path for hiking and exploring.

Discussions about available funding followed. Councilor Rob Smith brought the ??Our Town?? Scholarship through the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. They have mapped Cherokee Village, with overlaid maps of utility locations, distances between private properties, and other natural features of the land. He recommended Page to go to the ??Our Town?? folks for more information.

Tract Lee, a CV resident, has kept everyone updated on some ideas that have come from the Omaha and Thunderbird Center committee meetings over the past few months. Their suggestions included a variety of ways to improve CV facilities and local parks. Some of the ideas for the Omaha Center included a mini-golf course overhaul (about $10,000), installing some outdoor pickleball courts (about $60,000), and possibly promoting local tournaments to generate revenue . The committee also had proposals for the Thunderbird Center, including a nine-hole disc golf course (about $2,000) and the repair and painting of the play equipment. Lee suggested some activities like an arts and crafts fair where artisans could rent booths in one of the centers, chili, barbecue or cake cook-offs, dances and outdoor concerts. Lee even suggested an owner appreciation day where people could gather, recognize a particular owner and give a reward like a free day pass to all amenities. Tracy Lee will keep everyone updated on the date of their next meeting which will be announced on the CV SID website. She can also be reached on Facebook.

The CV Suburban Improvement District meets on the third Monday of each month at 3 p.m., currently at the North Golf Course Center.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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