The Common Property, Forest and Wildlife Committee began its Monday, March 4, 2024 meeting with an Executive Session to change committee leadership positions. John Boykin, current committee secretary was placed in the chair seat, while Anne Shears, current chair, was elected as secretary. Scott McCord remains as the vice chair. The committee changes will be announced at the Wednesday, April 17 Board Meeting.

Other meeting attendees were Bruce Caverly, HSV Board Member and Committee Liaison; David Harper, Superintendent of Lakes, Dams, Common Property, Forestry, and Wildlife. Max Billingsley; Barton Langford; James Galarza; and James Lagrone.

Anne Shears Committee Chair

Shears expressed that it has been a deep honor and privilege chairing the committee, “especially because of each and every one of you sitting around this table. I couldn’t have asked to serve with a better group of people.”

David Harper, Superintendent of Lakes, Dams, Common Property, Forestry, and Wildlife

Harper said his crews will continue to clean up debris from the January inclement weather events for many months. He said there have been a lot of complaints about areas they have not reached. “In some places where we have picked up the debris, we have had to return two or three weeks later due to the wind.” Tim Cosby continues logging operations to remove salvageable wood for sale. So far, the POA has received $93,000 for the sale of the wood, with more sales anticipated.

Harper said he is a member of the Safety Committee. This committee addresses safety issues at an in-depth level. “Safety is the number one thing,”

The debris at the Terlingua Pit was burned, and the lake dredging materials are stockpiled at the Pit.

Harper said there is much more to managing lakes than what appears on the surface. “Every lake is its own animal. You can’t treat all lakes the same. That is something they have lacked for the last three years.”

On removing silt bags from past lake dredging operations, Harper said silt bags in some wooded areas are unreachable using equipment.

Bruce Caverly, HSVPOA Board Member and Committee Liaison report

Bruce Caverly updated the committee on recent Board activities at the February 21 Board Meeting. Caverly reported that the Board addressed 22 items on the agenda. I will not go into all the items Caverly discussed, as I have already reported extensively on this meeting. Click here to read my report.

Assessment Increase

Caverly said he would like a declaration change to raise the annual assessments based on the National CPI Index instead of using the Southern Region CPI Index. He said the Southern Region CPI Index this year is 3.2%, while inflation was higher. Why is there a discrepancy in the two numbers? “The CPI Southern Index is based on gasoline prices; Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have the lowest gasoline prices in the country.”

McCord said, “Even using the National CPI Index for assessment increases will not meet our needs. At some point, there will be another campaign for an increase.”

Tax money

Billingsley said that residents outside the gates receive tax money to fund infrastructure repair and improvements and asked, “Do you think there is positive movement to getting our fair share of grants?”

Caverly answered, “They are working on that.” As a 24-year resident, he said for most of that time, Villagers did not develop relationships with state or federal legislators. This has changed due to the efforts of the Governmental Affairs Committee and General Manager Kelly Hale. Caverly stated, “We are in a society where you had better be involved.”

Another thing is when our police officers write a traffic ticket, resulting in a fine, this money goes to the state courts to divvy, and none of this money comes back to the Village.

Scott McCord Vice-chair report

Vehicle deer accidents: 28 were reported in 2023 versus 25 in 2022. Previously, the numbers were much higher. Note: these are only reported numbers.

Ronnie Ritter, Executive Director of Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry, said 115 deer were donated.

Ralph Meeker, Deer Program Coordinator at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, told McCord that they do not have an accurate count on deer taken from the Village due to a computer glitch. As Meeker unravels this boondoggle, more accurate numbers will be available.

McCord contacted Carrie Crawford of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to determine if she could help with the August 10 Urban Deer Hunt Orientation. McCord said Crawford is familiar with the International Bow Hunters Education Program and leads the Little Rock training exercise. McCord feels Crawford’s skills will enhance the orientation.

Todd Noles, Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation, will begin training committee members and David Harper on conducting a deer survey on Tuesday, March 12.

McCord is working on a questionnaire for the deer hunters.

McCord has been soliciting help for goose egg addling. There are seven volunteers, one with a boat.

Common property permits

A property owner will remove a hazardous tree on Sanchez Circle.

The Golf Department will allow a homeowner to cut a tree on the golf course property adjacent to his newly built home on Rollo Lane. The permit fee is being returned and no action taken by the Common Property Committee.

A Property Owner on Lado Lane wants to cut trees to improve his view. This property overlooks Lake Lago, our water source, where there are stringent stipulations as to what can occur in the area surrounding the lake. A professional forester, Max Billingsley, explained, “If this is in the Lake Lago watershed, which is the most sensitive lake in the Village and supplies our drinking water, any cutting within the watershed will eventually affect our water.” Boating and fishing are not allowed on Lake Lago. There is a zone fenced off around the lake where human activity is prohibited. Committee Members and Staff will arrange to take a closer look and discuss the topic at the next meeting.

Renewal of a class one maintenance permit on Balboa Way – This document was submitted electronically and does not appear to be a form the POA uses. This item was tabled until the next meeting to allow time for the committee to determine the proper form.

David Harper was asked by a Property Owner if he could clean up a fallen red oak tree on the common property to use for firewood. A $75 firewood permit can be obtained if the wood will be resold. Caverly said the Property Owner needs to obtain a no-cost permit for work on common property.

Hot Springs Village Common Property Committee Meeting March 4 2024
(Standing L to R) James Lagrone and Bruce Caverly – (Seated) Max Billingsley and Anne Shears

The Common Property, Forestry & Wildlife Committee will hold their next meeting on Monday, April 1, 2024 at 1:30 p.m. at the Coronado Community Center.

By Cheryl Dowden

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