On Monday, February 19, at a Board Candidate Forum hosted by Hot Springs Village Voice, four contenders competed for HSVPOA Board slots. Doyle Baker, Edsel Archie Frye, Jr., Marcy Mermel, and Mark Quinton were in the spotlight. The enthusiastic candidates gave detailed responses in three-minute time segments to twelve questions (three each) asked by Jeff Meek, Voice Correspondent. Jennifer Allen, Publisher of the Voice, introduced the candidates and Mr. Meek to the attentive audience and kept track of the time. The candidates were each given three minutes to introduce themselves at the beginning and five minutes at the end to wrap up.

Allen said, “All questions were provided by the public and sent to the Voice. They will be drawn at random for each candidate to answer.”

The Voice will email all twelve questions to each candidate and publish their written answers without editing on Tuesday, February 27. The questions and answers will also be available on the Voice website.

The ballots will be mailed on Friday, February 23, from a third-party election organization to HSVPOA members in good standing. All ballots must be returned on Wednesday, March 27, by 4:00 p.m. On Friday, March 29, the General Manager will announce the election results in an E-blast. The new Board Members will be seated at a Special Board Meeting immediately following the close of the regular April 17 Board Meeting.

The following is a transcription of the meeting, deemed very close to what was said but not perfect. Please be mindful that people don’t always talk in complete sentences.

Introductory comments

Doyle Baker – Introductory comments

“Good afternoon, Hot Springs Village Neighbors. First of all, I’d like to thank the Hot Springs Village Voice and Jennifer Allen for hosting this. Also, express our gratitude to moderator Jeff Meek for asking a lot of the important questions that everybody has listed. I’m Doyle Baker and happy to run for Hot Springs Village Board. My wife and I bought here in 2017, and then we moved here full-time in 2021 when retiring after working for 45 years. Since then, the community has become a good part of me. I couldn’t have imagined enjoying it as much as I do with all the people, the amenities, the activities…It’s terrific here.

“From Frito Lay originally in Texas to working at Bel Brands, being responsible for manufacturing all over the United States. I’ve had a lot of adventures. I’ve had a lot of challenges. But it was the people that I worked with that I enjoyed the most. And now we are in the Village it is the people that I enjoy here the most.

“Whether it is in Finance and Planning, whether it is the Woodworking Club, whether it is volunteering at church, whether it is going to the gym, going out bowling with a bunch of people – that is what I really enjoy about the Village. I also do some golf and pickleball.

“So why am I running? Well, here is the deal. I really don’t have any personal hidden agendas. I am not chasing personal glory. It is because I genuinely want to help out the Village, and I want to help the Village become stronger than it is now and continue on the good course that it is going.

“So let’s talk about some of the concerns we might be talking about for the next hour or so. I think a lot of us have the same common worries. We’re worried about our budgets for our house and the bills that we see. We’re worried about the POA’s budget and how that is going to affect us. We’re worried about the upkeep and maintenance of our houses. We’re worried about upkeep and maintenance on our cars. We’re worried about the Village and the aging infrastructure and the upkeep of that after a few years of neglect.

“I know there are also some people that are out there talking about policies, regulations, procedures – that type of thing. I’ve been out listening to what a lot of people have said recently. All I can do is tell you the kind of mind, my process, and what I do is I listen to people and what they have to say, and I use my experience to address their concerns.

“So, what do I base that on? My primary focus is on what is best for the Village. I want it to be, most importantly, enjoyable. I want it to be successful so that the price of our house is maintained. And I want it to grow for the same reason.

“I plan on being here for another 30 years. I want the Village to be here well past the next 30 years.”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr. – Introductory comments

“Good afternoon. Thanks for coming. Thanks for caring. My name is Edsel Archie Frye, Jr. I am from the East Coast, southeast, as you can tell by my voice. I was in the Air Force for 38 years, along with my wife. And, I chose to run for the Board for largely the same reasons Doyle did. I care about the future of the Village. I know we have a 50-year-old infrastructure that needs a lot of work. It’s going to cost a lot of money. Also, the majority of Villagers live on a fixed income. We need smart ways to raise revenue and use the revenue. I’ve got a lot of experience doing that. In the military, we were given pretty hefty budgets in the Air Force, and I have a track record of innovation and finding new and better ways to do stuff, working with others, and listening to them.

“So, I am like him [Doyle], I want to see this place succeed. I want to see it get better and better. The last five years, I’ve seen a declining [indecipherable] that turn around. Things are looking better everywhere I go. I don’t take for granted when I flush the toilet or get a glass of water. I know these things have to work and we count on them. I promise you all that I’ll work hard and work smart and work very economically. That is all I have. Thank you for coming.

Marcy Mermel – Introductory comments

“Hello. I’m Marcy Mermel, and I feel a little bit like a dinosaur up here. After almost 25 years of annual visits, I purchased in 2011 and then got here permanently in 2013. In the middle of that time, I came back and did some construction on my home before I was going to be moving in, and during the six months I was gone, two commercial properties – the DeSoto Club and also the Fuel Stop – had become nonexistent. And, to a commercial real estate and finance person, that is a very scary thing.

“So, after a contract that I had in Hot Springs, which ended in 2014, I ran for the Board in ’15 because I wanted to lend my expertise in commercial real estate and finance. I was on the Board from ’15 to ’18 and again in ’20 – periodically doing a whole bunch of stuff.

“I’ve been through, I would say, four G.M.s, but I am not quite sure if Mr. King counts as a whole one, so three and a half, many great times, and some rocky roads as well. I feel bad because Terry Wiley has made this such a great place and so many things for your guys to do. Someone said to me the other day, ‘I am busier now than I ever have been, but nothing has to do with the work. It is all play.’ So it seems like we are the bearer of bad news when we’re talking about concerns and issues and why we’d like you to vote for us. But the reality is, it is concerning, and it is because we care. So, I would say change doesn’t cause pain. Resistance to change causes pain. So we need to keep that in mind.

“The key to what I’d like to bring forward is, I’m going to say, vast experience in real estate, land planning, and finance.

“So, I appreciate you all being here, and we will see what happens today!”

Mark Quinton – Introductory comments

“I am glad everybody could make it today. I come from an industry that sees the big picture. I have 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry. I started as a field rep, calling on doctors’ offices, and went through the ranks all the way up to the national sales director, where I was responsible for 2,000 individuals and a billion-dollar portfolio. So I have a lot of experience dealing with that. In that time, we also, my wife and I built a hockey rink from scratch. It gave me vast experience in small business. When I was in that, I was a member of the Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, United Way Chairman, and Better Business Bureau President. So, I tend to like to volunteer my time to see what’s going on.

“I came into the Village six years ago, and I swore to my daughter, ‘I’m not getting in any of the politics. I am just going to play golf.’ Well, that is when things started going a little south, back then. I said, ‘I’m going to get involved in this and see what is going on.’

“I got on the Recreation Committee, four years ago. In my time on that committee, somebody asked me if I would help build an archery range here in the Village. I come from a background of being a professional archer for 30 years, with a contract with Hoyt Archery. So, I know how to do that, and we did it almost with no funds coming out of it, and actually, it’s a profitable amenity now.

“I also volunteered to help with the Urban Hunt. For those of you who don’t know, this year, we brought the Urban Hunt back into the Village to where it is only residents and a guest that is sponsored by that person. We decided to do it in-house, instead of having Arkansas Bow Hunters run it, so we could keep the revenue from the fees that were generated. We pulled it off with volunteers and smart people in the POA who know how to write programs. It was a great success.

“We donated over 100 deer to feed the hungry. With the proceeds that we made from it, we donated a check for $5,000 to feed the hungry. So that was very successful.

“Last year, I was appointed to the Board on the Board of Directors, and I don’t have an agenda. The agenda is, I want to make sure they keep their promise on infrastructure. If the money that we raised assessments for, those are for making things better. And we all saw how quickly infrastructure can turn on us on DeSoto during the ice storm. Things can go south real quick.

“We got a great crew of people that work for the POA now – all the Directors, a great General Manager, and I think we’ve got something going forward here. That is all I have to say.”

Questions to the candidates

Doyle Baker

Jeff Meek: “Despite efforts by the POA, tailgating into the Village continues to be a problem. What thoughts do you have to address this problem?”

Doyle Baker: “So, I’ve seen the tailgating happening. And I have also seen a lot of people, various employees, having to sit at the gate and monitor and adjust the gates continuously for tailgating.

“Initially, my thought is that the gate systems we have were probably right when they were put in. But a lot of them are older and slower, and they are not current with technology. You go out and look at the east gate and see that one arm that sticks up in the air there; that is one of the faster-moving gates that I have seen.

“I’ve seen those in other similar communities. They work well. They go up immediately, and they come down immediately. The downside is, and I know because I know other people on other Boards of other communities. Occasionally, someone won’t stop, or it won’t scan the card, and they do go through those gates. Those gates are designed to break off and they are not as secure as a metal gate. I think also there are areas in the Village that if you wanted to get through without a gate, you probably could.

I think it is good to update the system. And I think a newer system would be beneficial.”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr.

Jeff Meek: “What are the POA’s weakest areas? And what have you done to bring those areas to the attention of the Board?”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr.: “Well, based on the success of the last few years, I would say we have very few weak areas, and they are addressing them. I would say the weakest area and the one that probably needs the most work, maybe the only weak area, is maybe communicating more.

“I know there are so many avenues for people to get communication, but I would daresay there is a portion of our population that doesn’t get online or use apps, and you know, I think we have some hard choices to make. If we don’t communicate that properly, we are going to struggle to get the funding we need. I am talking about the water and sewer.

“I think that can be done better. Also, going back to the tailgating thing – I see a sign there that says, ‘We prosecute.’ But I’d like to look into, to see if we really do prosecute, because that is a big deterrent – a steep fine.

“Anyway, other than that I think the Board is doing a marvelous job, as is. Thank you.”

Marcy Mermel

Jeff Meek: “Do you anticipate major changes to the POA budget? If so, where and why?”

Marcy Mermel: “I am going to say probably twenty times today, ‘water, sewer, roads.’ That is where we need our money to be going. Do I anticipate an income and expense? Yes. We’re going to be at the end of our rate increases and that is going to come about.

“I would very much suggest a tiered rate increase, and that is going to take some studying and a lot of eyes. But we do need to watch out for water, sewer, and roads. Mill Creek, Cedar Creek – it’s going to probably come fast and furious, and we’re going to have to be ready for it.

“So, I am going to say, ‘water, sewer, and roads.’ And we’ve got to be ready for it. We just have to get ready for it. So we’ve got to start NOW. As far as where the income is coming from – bonds, whatever we can do. Go to the counties and see what we can have done for us there. Water, sewer, roads.”

Mark Quinton

Jeff Meek: “Mark, how should the POA pursue collecting delinquent assessments from property owners?”

Mark Quinton: “That’s a good question. We don’t do enough with that. Early in my career, before 30 years of pharm, I managed collection agencies. So, I know a lot, and I know how that could be done. It’s very difficult if somebody doesn’t want to pay a past-due debt nowadays, to do anything about it. I believe we are turning some over to collections. But if you look at the numbers, about a third of some of those unimproved lots are delinquent in the payments. It is something we need to try to pursue and get them to make the payments that they need.

“Legal counsel doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for that amount of money. The most you can do is get a lawyer to send a letter, but to bring it to court, it’s not anything you can do.

So, as far as what you can do to make it happen, make the place something that people will enjoy, to think they might have a future in it. But as far as trying to collect it, it’s very difficult for that.”

Mark Quinton (He had two questions in a row.)

Jeff Meek: “Okay, Mark, do you think any assessment dollars should be put towards future amenities? Why or why not?”

Mark Quinton: “This is an easy question and answer. Everything I have written down here is water, sewer, and roads because that is where the money needs to go. We don’t need any future assessment dollars. I mentioned the archery range earlier. When people approached me and said, ‘Hey, can we get this done?’ I’m like, ‘Not gonna happen because we are not spending money.’ So we found a way to get the initial [hay] bales in there and how to make it a profitable center. If you can do that, okay. We’re good. We can do it. But ‘Paint and Polish’ is what we need to do. We don’t need to be spending money on more pickleball courts, basketball courts, until we get the infrastructure under control that is 30 years neglected.”

Marcy Mermel

Jeff Meek: “Marcy, lots on golf courses and lakes are in short supply and high demand, which makes them a relatively easy sell. What is your strategic plan to sell the lots that aren’t on a lake or a golf course?”

Marcy Mermel: “That is a good question for a real estate person. I was involved in an area that actually had the third beach – Cortez Beach – and that was actually sold. It was still owned by Cooper, but he lent it to us for about 30 years, and so property values went down as the beach was taken away from the public.

“So, property values are a big thing when you have a view, and as I said, lakes and golf courses. The forested areas are something totally different. Number one, we should look at a Del Webb model. They are very, very successful. To do that, we have to know exactly where all of our utility lines go; which is difficult to do, but it is possible to do. So you actually steer people towards areas that we already have the utilities in so we DO NOT have to bring utilities, with the extra expense of bringing utilities to their home.

“If they decide to go all the way over there, where there are no utilities, then they pay a premium for doing that. And we also have to – what I had offered to the Board several times – is getting regional and national builders in here, which we do not do now – that are able to put together spec homes in an area of 15 to 20 or even 30, creating neighborhoods that we could be selling, not just one-offs or two-offs, when people want to put a custom home here, or a developer or construction [indecipherable] would like to put two or three homes over on this street. So, we need to invite bigger developers, or developers, period, here – because we have a lot of land to do that. And they can create wonderful, beautiful neighborhoods and amenities in those neighborhoods for us to attract the home buyer.”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr.

Jeff Meek: “Archie, in your opinion, does Hot Springs Village have enough police officers and vehicles to patrol the many Hot Springs Village roads?”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr.: “Well, that is a great question because one of the things I am very concerned about is the retention of our law enforcement people that we train and then we lose, for some reason, more than likely, salary.

“I would say with what we have, we’re doing a remarkable job. I think we have 19 if I am not incorrect. We have a very small number for 16,000 people. And, we have a very good crime rate, in spite of the numbers on the police force and the relative inexperience.

“I think they do great work. If I am elected to the Board, I’m going to try to look for ways to increase their salaries and/or their quality of life. Maybe, we give them a free lot. We’ve got to make it attractive. If we can only increase the salary so much, we have to look for other ways. Fortunately, I had about 38 years of that, because we only got what we got in the Air Force and we had to make it work. And sometimes that is very difficult. And it’s not black and white. It takes a lot of people working hard, with a lot of ideas.

“So, do I think we have enough? No. And I don’t know whether we let them take their cruisers home and use it in their daily lives like a lot of police forces do. That actually increases security if you see them riding around in that. I am happy when I come through a gate, particularly, you know, an unmanned gate, and I do see a vehicle there that has a police officer in it. I think that is a great deterrent. One of my main concerns for the future is the safety of this Village and the future of this Village – keeping our gates and maybe improving our law enforcement. It should only be better. I feel very safe when I go to bed at night. If I forget to lock my door, I don’t worry about it. This is the first place I have lived in my life that I can say that about.”

Doyle Baker

Jeff Meek: “Doyle, here we go. With around 30 million dollars required for federally-mandated water and waste-water treatment improvements in the Village alone, should the POA immediately prepare for an intensive educational campaign to follow the FRATF Committee’s recommendations for future assessment increases?”

Doyle Baker: “What I am aware of, I am not aware of federal regulations. I am aware of Arkansas’ ACT 605 which just passed here recently. Arkansas Act 605 requires us to go out and have a third party come in and audit our system and see where it is relative to the standard.

“Act 605 also then requires us to put action plans together to get ourselves up to the standard and then also come up with an understanding of what it is going to take to maintain our water systems going forward so that we don’t reach a point where they are breaking down again.

“The third thing they are asking to do, and this is the law that has passed, is that we also need to put a rate structure together that ensures that we can continue to maintain the water system.

“So, I think it is under analysis. I know the wastewater and fresh water systems have come in, and once that is all together, then we will have to have an understanding of what we need to do with rates. That will need to be fully explained to everybody. It is a large chunk of change for sure.”

Doyle Baker (He had two questions in a row.)

Jeff Meek: “Doyle, I am coming at you with another one. What do you see as the biggest problem facing the Village and what would you do to address it?”

Doyle Baker: “You know, since I’ve been in the Village, I don’t know that I really identified, and genuinely, don’t know that I have really identified a significant problem. Are there issues? Yes. Are there disagreements? Are there things that we argue about and have differences of opinion? Absolutely. Does that happen anytime you get a city together with this many people? You can count on it.

“I think the thing together to do is to work together to bring the improvement. I think community engagement is one of the key things that is important. By people working together, sharing ideas, whether it is town halls, going to the POA meetings, getting involved in talking about what the issues are, because communication is where it begins.

“Another thing we need is we need to be very open about financial issues because a lot of times people get worked up about that or there are concerns or a lot of misinformation. But openness of financial issues is important. I am not saying, by the way, that we aren’t open. But I think the finance department is going through a lot of transitions right now. Jama is doing an outstanding job, and I think she is also the fourth person in that role when she got it, the fourth person in that role in four years. So there has been a lot of transition. So we need to continue to work on that.

“We do need to support the growth to preserve change. Growth is key. Because it is all about stability. Quite honestly, it is about the value of our homes. We want those to be maintained. We want them for ourselves, and we want them when we pass them down to our kids at some point in time. We want the value to be there for our assets.

“There are policies and procedures out there or things that people do disagree about. I think proactively, talking about those. Sitting down and discussing what the differences are, we can reach an understanding of what the best decision is. The bottom line is, what is best for the Village to keep it enjoyable? What is best for the Village for long-term stability? Thank you.”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr.

Jeff Meek: “Archie, do you think our current and projected Hot Springs Village assessment fees are too high or too low based on the known millions of infrastructure dollars needed to sustain this largest gated community in America?”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr.: “Well, I think that’s on everybody’s mind. You know, again, I will relate back to people on fixed incomes. They don’t want to see a single increase. But the house you are living in is increasing. In the last three years, it has gone up 40%, and our dues haven’t gone up 40%. So, and there’s a lot of people that say, ‘Well, you know, I don’t use the amenities. Why should I pay for them?’ Well, again, your property values are tied to those, and that is what draws people here. The more people we get here, maybe we don’t have to raise the dues.

“But we’ve got to be realistic. It’s a math problem. We’re going to need X amount of dollars to be in compliance with our water and keep our amenities the way they are. There are a lot of improvements going on right now with the golf courses. I am a golfer, so I see them, and I think they have been needed for at least ten years. And they are doing the right thing. They are doing it smart. From what I understand, to use a contractor to do what they are going to do at Isabella would probably be well over a million dollars, and I think they are doing it in-house for around $600,000. The majority is in-house.

“The leadership we have here is real smart. They are really doing good things. I feel confident about the future. And I can tell you, five years ago, I did not. So, I think we’re going to have to look at what’s needed, and we’re going to have to do a great job at communicating why we need to do this. And, I would say, just looking at the last two years of budgeting and spending, I think we’re very efficient at doing that and doing it well.

“I know we are tied to the Southern CPI for rate increases. Whatever inflation in June of the southern states is what we are allowed to raise, with just the Board’s vote, without going for an at-large vote.

“But I do believe at some time, we are going to have to go at-large on a vote to get an increase. And I am confident that with the current leadership and the work the Board has been doing, I think it’s going to be as reasonable as possible. And it won’t be excessive. Thank you.”

Marcy Mermel

Jeff Meek: “Marcy, should the POA study converting one of the less popular golf courses to another revenue-producing amenity? Could converting either Coronado or Balboa save millions in golf renovation expenses and remaining courses meet the demand? There’s two questions there.”

Marcy Mermel: “Okay. First of all, I believe if you converted any golf course into something else, like, I was going to say a goat farm. No. Or frisbee golf or I am not even going to try and figure out what it could be, because I believe that we would have a big class action lawsuit on our hands because like you have said in the other question to me, as far as real estate is concerned, a golf lot is – the value of saying, ‘I have a golf lot’ or ‘I want to sell a golf lot’ means a lot more in dollars than not. I think it would be a big problem. It just would.

“This is the largest gated golf community; I believe it could be in the world, but definitely in the country. So, we need to uphold that. Unfortunately, golf and the golf industry have changed. Taste for golf has changed. The whole thing that was supposed to follow Tiger Woods, I actually worked for a golf developer in contract with Arthur Hills for three years. And the whole thing that was supposed to follow Tiger Woods did not happen. But a lot of golf courses were created because of him.

“So, no, I would not like a lawsuit for property values decreasing. We have to learn how to live with what we have. And we have to also be very, very smart in how we actually renovate golf courses.

“I believe everyone wanted to close down Balboa completely. It was in October, and they wanted to strip everything. and it turned out that they only had to do dual drainage and could actually continue playing on the course while renovating it, cutting down the renovation time in half; after the Board stopped entertaining that, it was actually at a Board meeting, the [indecipherable] left entirely.

“So, there are less expensive ways to deal with golf courses – their renovation. You just have to be smarter about it.”

Mark Quinton

Jeff Meek: “And our last question goes to you, Mark. Does the POA General Manager have the duty to treat all property owners and the general public with respect at all times and maintain the same decorum requested of the public during meetings? What should be done if he or she fails to do so?”

Mark Quinton: “That is a good question. I don’t know if it is an issue. I know Kelly sometimes can be very blunt sometimes and may come off the wrong way. But in general, he is very good at speaking with people and keeping people informed. I don’t see an issue with this being something we need to address. If it does happen, the Board will address it. Being a Board Member now, it would be addressed if something like that happened. That’s all I have to say.”

Closing remarks

Mark Quinton – Closing remarks

“I think one of the main things, running for the Board is, you have to be somebody that is going to volunteer your time and show up for meetings and contribute to the bottom line as far as what everybody is talking about. Since I’ve been here, I started on the Rec Committee. I had an interest in the Fitness Center, that they weren’t doing what they needed to do to create revenue there. That is why I joined the Rec Committee.

“I got involved in mini golf, the archery range. It kind of went from there, and I was on the Cooper ad hoc Land Committee, which was an interesting one to be on because Cooper owned a lot of land here that was part of our infrastructure that we needed to save. And we discovered three that I can mention right now. The Danville Gate was on Cooper’s property. We didn’t own it. We were possibly losing it. Cedar Creek – everybody loves Cedar Creek. They were asking for an arm and a leg for it. We only gave them half an arm when we did buy it. We had a water tower on Cooper land. It was an exciting committee to be on. It really got me into meeting some of the movers and shakers here in the Village.

“The other thing I want to mention is the Board can take up a lot of time. I am also on the ACC Committee. I am the Board Liaison to the ACC Committee. It is a committee that is vital to this Village. The one that looks when somebody has a permit request to make changes to their residence, new houses come in. We look at it and make sure it is what we want to keep our property values up. And it is time-consuming because every one of those cases has a field visit for a volunteer. He goes out and talks to the homeowner, makes sure everything is right. The lines are right – everything lines up. Very important committee to be on.

“I give my time for that because I love this place. I love the Village. It’s a home; It’s a place I am going to live until I turn the house over to the kids. Maybe it will be a good estate sale to go to. I am not really sure there.

“But, that’s all I have to say on that.”

Marcy Mermel – Closing remarks

Marcy Mermel: “Do I get his extra three minutes?” (Jeff Meek answered, “No.”) Out on the table, I would like to bring your attention to things I would like to be brief. I put out some flyers, for the record. These are decisions and opinions I have, historically. And if you have any questions, please let me know because I can talk to you about them at great length.

“Also, the blue one is my participation in volunteerism here in the Village since I have been here. And then, if you are interested in my professional background before Hot Springs Village, my professional CV is out there as well. So please take them. Give them to your neighbors and call me and let me know if you have any suggestions, opinions, or questions.

“I want to just say one thing about the tailgating. I’ve been tailgated several times, when I’ve been driving a U-haul truck. And, I’ve called the police. The police had not found me, and I was going about 35 miles per hour down DeSoto. So, you need to respond to the tailgating calls better.

“But what I would like to do is, right now, many of you may not remember when we used to leave the Village, we had to use our card, as well. Remember that? So, if someone is not supposed to be in here, they can get out of here as fast as they got in here, if they were tailgating. If we put that motion back into the gates, and you are required to use your card to leave the Village, as well, it may deter the amount of people that come in, in a tailgate situation. That’s my comment on that.

“As far as just general comments, I feel like, excuse me, water, sewer, and roads. Okay. The Board representation – we need to respect the property owners’ choices. Since 2020, the Board has been, there was a time when the Board had five people on it, with three people doing the voting. There has been kind of a musical chairs sort of a situation in the last couple of years and I believe that’s disrespectful to the representation of all of the residents and property owners. So, I believe that the Board should remain full at all times. It should replace open seats within thirty days, at the most.

“You should also respect the property owners’ choices in putting people that they voted for in that election or the election before, in those seats.

“Rules and Regulations, ACC restrictions, our rule books here – we need to revisit them and I know it sounds painful, but some of them are conflicting information. For example, ACC, – Mark you can correct me if I am wrong – encourages for example new properties with grass. However, we doubled our capacity of water in the summer. Again, it’s going up. That is a real problem. So that’s a bit of a conflicting situation and other things as well.

“I think Compliance needs to be reviewed. The cost. The need. How it is going to happen under its new department.

“I believe that we need to begin to address the existence and relationship to the Townhouse Association. They are over ten percent of our population, and we are all one community. We need to figure out how to live with that, how to make that profitable for us and it needs to be done.

“I do believe we need our assessments to be raised, of course. But, being unimproved versus improved property is not the way. It should be a multi-tiered system. I can’t get into – there are several options that do that. But it needs to be studied. But just having a water meter or not, is not a reason to have a two-tier system. And I think I am done with my yellow light. But I have so much more to say.”

Jeff Meek: “Well, you have half a second to say it.”

Marcy Mermel: “Water, sewer, roads.”

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr. – Closing remarks

Edsel Archie Frye, Jr.: “Again, thanks for coming, and thanks for caring. I am up here because I care. As everyone knows you don’t get paid to be on the Board. But as Mark said, it’s a lot of work. So, I expect that. I enjoy projects. I enjoy stuff that is hard – that seems impossible. And I like working with a group of smart people. What I have seen is that is what we have on this Board. And we certainly have it in our GM and our leadership in the administration in the Village. I’ve never seen it run this well, and I’ve been here permanently since ’12, but as a property owner since 2008. It is the best I’ve seen, and I think it is on a trajectory. I think it is going to keep getting better. Now that we are making some improvements, noticeable improvements, when people come here, trying to decide whether they want to retire here or not, everyone we’ve talked to that has moved here recently, they’ve decided probably in their first hour of being here, because there is no other place in the country like this. We looked at going up to the place up there in northwest Arkansas, and we played one round of golf and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We were actually supposed to have dinner there and decided…I lived in Oklahoma. She lived in Arkansas. We decided to get a headstart on getting home. That is how unimpressed we were. But this place is just the opposite. There is anything you want here. It’s beautiful. It’s worth protecting and it’s definitely worth preserving.

“And I will get with the protective part. I do think we need more police. It would be nice if that on every hour of every shift they worked, they spent at least ten minutes at the gates, manned or unmanned. That way, people that have ill-intent, that come into this Village, they’ll see that, and it will be random. They go, ‘Hey, I don’t know when a cop is going to be there.’ It will certainly cut down on the incentive to tailgate, because that does happen a lot. And I think Doyle had some great ideas there with the gate that is going to slap your car from trying to come in. As it is now, I believe there must be a light sensor that lets as many people tailgate on one pass as possible. So, it needs some improvement. You know, while we are sleeping at night, there are cops on these streets trying to keep us safe. And we do have crime in this Village. And it needs to be addressed. And you have to address that with money, and personnel, and equipment. So, my main concern, if I get on the Board, is going to be for your safety and your future. And that’s the bottom line. Thank you.”

Doyle Baker – Closing remarks

Doye Baker: “Thank you. Looks like I am going to kick it off and wrap it up. You know, my wife and I came and visited here in 2015, and we fell in love with the place. We had been looking at places for the previous few years. And we came here, and it, by far, stood above everything else we’d seen. Well, we went ahead and continued our journey, and we went to other places, and we kept comparing those to everything else we were seeing, and we continued to talk about this place. So that is why in 2017, we came back. We came back to see if this was really what we thought it was, not to buy a house. But while we were here, we ended up buying a house, so I guess that is okay. ‘This is where we are moving.’

“At the time, we lived in Portland, Oregon. So moving this far was a substantial change. That being said, she is from Missouri, and I am from Texas. So this kind of meets in the middle, just kind of like the two of us met some 34 years ago.

“There are a lot of changes that happened in this community in the last few years. I think a lot of them are for the better. I like the direction we are headed. It is true, we don’t have a lot of money. We need to be conscious that we don’t spend the money or waste it. And we need to maintain the things that we have before we go out and buy the next shiny little object.

“But we also need to spend money on marketing. We need to spend money that makes sense so we continue to grow, so we continue to hold the assets and the value of what we have here in our properties today.

“I believe in practical solutions and not about a lot of political nonsense. That’s not what I am. Getting in front of you folks makes me nervous, in case you can’t tell, because I am usually working and talking with people side-by-side versus being on a stage and presenting out.

“But I do believe that together, because everybody I’ve met here brings so much experience from their lives, if we work together, we bring all the different aspects that people bring, we can solve anything that we have out here. The people in the community are our strongest asset.

“You know, in a nutshell, I’m about practical solutions. It’s not a personal agenda. it’s not a hidden agenda. We need to continue to build the Village to be strong. We need to continue to build the Village for the future. There are some hurdles out there with the water system. But when you look at ours, compared to a lot of other places like ours, we are so much better off. We’ve maintained what we’ve had with a lot of people. We are the largest gated community, like what we have in the United States, and for a reason. Because people recognize it. And because people want to be here.

“So moving forward, I am dedicated to Hot Springs Village. I love it here. I would love to continue to serve, in the position of Board. That’s why I am doing this, is simply because I want to serve the community. I want to help out. I want to be part of that. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to serving going forward. Thank you.”

Four Board Candidates vie for three seats Hot Springs Village

Jeff Meek, HSV Voice Correspondent &

Jennifer Allen, HSV Voice Publisher

Featured image: (Left to right) Doyle Baker, Edsel Archie Frye, Jr., Marcy Mermel, and Mark Quinton were in the spotlight at the Village Voice Board Candidate Forum.

By Cheryl Dowden

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