On January 11, 2024, the Hot Springs Village Public Services Committee met for their first regular meeting of the year.

Public Services Director Ken Unger discussed some of the departmental changes in Public Services. Unger said, “As a result of Charlie Brown’s departure from the POA, his responsibilities were analyzed to see what department would be the best fit.” Brown’s responsibilities were divided between the Public Services Department and the Hot Springs Village Police Department (Under Chief Kristi Bennett). I have previously covered this topic. Here are the links to two articles:

“HSVPOA Public Services Reorganizes Department”

“HSVPOA Replaces Compliance Department with Community Support”

Cliffs Notes on Re-organization Due to Charlie Brown’s Resignation

  • Matt Broom was promoted to Associate Director of Public Services. Broom has oversight over the Architectural Control Committee and Permitting and Inspections. Unger said, “I did not believe I could do this area justice with everything else that we have going on (in the Public Services Department), especially with the focus on utilities that will happen this year.” Unger said they felt many issues would be solved by adding the Permitting and Inspections Department to Public Services.
    • Broom thanked the Committee Members for their confidence and support and looked forward to continuing working with them.
  • David Harper, former 19-year Lakes Manager, has been promoted to Superintendent of Common Property, Lakes, and Dams. Harper has a lot of experience with Dams. Broom said David is a big asset to the team.
    • Katy Harmon remains as the Lakes Supervisor. Broom said, “Katy is doing a great job.”
    • Harper said, “I appreciate the opportunity to advance in the company. I have been with the POA for 38 years and look forward to working with everybody.”
  • Todd Noles was promoted to Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation. Broom said, “Todd has a lot of experience in this area, and the teams respond very well to him.”
    • Noles said, “I look forward to 2024 and making things happen the right way.”
  • Permitting and Inspections are under the auspices of the Public Services Department. Beverly Ellison has been promoted to manager of this team.
  • Tom Benfield was promoted to Community Support Manager. This Department was formerly Compliance. Unger said under the new organization, “The cooperation so far I have seen between Permitting and Inspections and Community Support is even stronger than it was. Benfield attends the ACC meetings.”
  • Police Chief Kristi Bennet is organizationally responsible for Community Support. Police Officers will not work Compliance cases.
  • The gates are under Manager Benfield.
  • Benfield is responsible for Animal Control.

Boat Sticker Discussion

Watercraft owners may purchase boat stickers, but don’t always place them on the boats. When doing an audit in an area before boat season, the sticker may not be on the boat. Unger said, “Last year we pulled the report of everybody who purchased stickers. This gave us the ability to eliminate some people as being non-compliant. Knowing what property owners purchased stickers gave us the ability to perform a quicker audit.”

Road Work

Unger said there is a lot of road work slated for 2024, and he expects the Public Services Committee will be engaged with helping department heads in this area. “As we engage the sub-committees, my hope is that there is active work being done between the Public Service Meetings.”


Harper has extensive experience with dams. Two thousand twenty-four (2024) promises to focus more on the dams. Unger sees a lot of dam improvements occurring, such as outlet structures, piezometers, and other improvements. (A piezometer is a geotechnical instrument that measures changes in water level or water pressure beneath the surface.)

The State of Arkansas inspects at least two of our dams every year. Unger said that he also inspects two dams yearly and should complete the remainder of the dam inspections in 2024.

Unger said, “I have a short list from the [state] engineers. We have focused on their input to make sure that when they come back, those issues have been satisfactorily addressed.”

A regular dam inspection schedule by the POA will be instituted.

Update from Board Director and P. S. Committee Liaison Larry Siener

At the December 20, 2024, Board Meeting, the Board passed two of Unger’s motions:

  • Approval of GG Lift Station Parallel 6-inch Force Main
  • Approval to purchase 2 – 25 HP Hydromatic pumps for GG Lift Station

The Board of Directors is currently working on 2024 goals and objectives for the General Manager. Siener said he looks forward to continuing our progress in the past two years. “We are looking at $13.7 M in capital improvement in 2024. We have never come close to that capital improvement number, as near as I can tell. This is about $4 M more than we spent in 2023.”

Siener said, “We have a lot of opportunity to do things really well or to ‘honk’ it up. So hopefully, we will get the advice and counsel of those in this room who have experience to keep us between the rails and make progress as expeditiously as possible.”

Larry Siener, Hot Springs Village POA Board Director and P. S. Committee Liaison

Next Public Services Meeting is for Discussion of Special Topics (Subject/s to be Determined)

The next Public Services meeting will be held on Thursday, January 25, at 9:30 a.m. at the Coronado Community Center. The P.S. Committee has many subcommittees. Each month, the subjects for the Special Topics Meeting will be determined by Ken Unger. Attendance for all special topics committee members is not required but should be attended according to one’s interests or what sub-committee one is on. For example, if Roads is the topic, those on the Roads Subcommittee should attend. The Special Topic Meetings will allow the committee members to interact directly with staff in their area of expertise.

Unger said he wanted to have staff available to meet with subcommittee members so that the subcommittees could assist with department needs.

Safety Report

There was a 41% increase in total accidents from 2022 to 2023, with 156 total accidents reported in 2023, compared to 111 in 2022. This number is expected to increase as the population expands.

Eighty-six (86) of the accidents in 2023 involved only one vehicle, compared to 29 reported single-car accidents in 2022, increasing by 197%.

2023 showed 70 multi-vehicle accidents, compared to only 13 in 2022.

2023 had 29 deer strikes, with only 11 in 2022.

Safety report incidents have increased in the past year in all category types except for a few areas. Private property incidents decreased. Hit and runs, failures to yield, and DUIs remained steady, with few incidents.

Unger said they would be determining where safety initiatives should be focused. “We need to formalize how we address these problems, ask why we are doing things, and the criteria to institute safety measures. We need to justify why we are making safety changes.” For example, ‘Why are we putting a guardrail here? Why are we slowing the speed down?’ “We need to base our safety decisions on input from an engineer. I don’t think it should just come from us. It should probably be part of the safety report.”

Possibly safety could be tied to the culverts/sanitation/ streets subcommittee. Unger said the POA focuses more on safety than in the past.

Safety and Village Growth

Siener said that we have issued over 350 new home permits in the past three years. He estimated we have added about 700 new residents. “The Village population is up from 15.5 to 16.2 or 16.3 thousand. By 2030, if we add 100 houses a year, we will have another 1,400 people. Part of what we need to look at is where we have high loads on the roads or where we have intersections that are becoming increasingly problematic. It is likely that over the next ten or fifteen years, we are going to need additional stop signs, turn lanes, and flashing lights. We are going to have to do something in some areas to be able to mitigate the coming traffic demand.” stated Siener.

Unger said, “I am going to argue with you that it is even bigger than that. If you look at things like Stay and Play and the growth we drive to the golf courses and bringing people in here for vacations. We are seeing an increase in traffic. That is part of the reason why I got involved in tailgating. I need traffic counts on vehicles coming in the gates because it may necessitate us manning another gate to disperse traffic from other locations. I am trying to get data. We did traffic logging last year, and I plan to do it again this year because we need a long-term plan for handling this.”


When requesting an assessment increase, the POA needs current data to present factual information to the community. Siener said, “This is the last year of the agreed-upon assessment changes. After this year, we will be back at the Southern CPI. What will happen is that right now, we have opened up a $5 or $6 M gap between the revenue we are taking in and what we are spending…We will probably get into a situation where we have another FRATF unless we do something else requiring a Declaration change. Having information available will be critical criteria to communicate to the people either a Declaration change or, in a few years, we will make another request to upgrade the assessments. If we can, I prefer to do it with a Declaration change, so having current data will be very beneficial. There are a lot of people out there who pay absolutely no attention to anything until it affects them. The advantage is that the more information we put out there, the more the community [can understand]. If you remember, during the FRATF exercises, we had people who went on social media and slammed us…I don’t watch social media much, but I did watch Nextdoor, and an interesting thing happened. Once we started pushing information out, the community shut down the complainers. The community would say, ‘You are not paying attention. They already published this. They’ve already said that. They’ve already done that.’ I knew we would win the assessment increase as soon as I saw that shift. The community went away from being against where we were going to being able to use the information we were providing to shout down some [people].”

HSVPOA Public Services Meeting 1-11-24 Ken Unger
(L) HSVPOA Public Services Director Ken Unger & (R) Board Member Larry Siener

By Cheryl Dowden

Contact Information for HSVPOA Public Services Director

Ken Unger
Director Public Services
Hot Springs Village

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