by Clay Herrmann
– aggressively greedy or grasping –
– always wanting more money, possessions, etc. –
– wanting more than is needed or deserved –
e.g. “Government’s rapacious nature is par for the course.”
It was scheduled to take effect April 1, 2016. The Hot Springs Board of Realtors was notified of the plan via email sent to the HSV Board of Realtors on January 12th. Realtors were informed that the plan would be proposed at the January BOD meeting, voted on in February, and if approved as anticipated, the fee would be implemented on April 1st. The POA’s legal counsel has reportedly advised David Twiggs, Hot Springs Village COO that no vote of approval by the POA membership is required to implement the new assessment being called a “Development Contribution Fee” by the POA General Manager.
Twiggs wrote that “Initially. this funding will be earmarked to cash flow the early stages of our sales program.” What sales program is that? In recent months the POA website has made numerous content transitions, including eliminating any acknowledgment of the existence of the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors. Real estate inquiries from www.hsvpoa.org are directed to a choice of POA personnel (none of whom, to our knowledge, hold active Arkansas real estate licenses), the list being topped by the General Manager himself. A POA operated real estate sales office and POA real estate sales force funded by real estate transactions made by the sales efforts of others, appears to be in the making. Several months ago the HSV Board of Realtors requested and confirmed an opportunity for Twiggs to meet with the HSV Realtors membership. The POA GM was a no-show to that event. Use of POA funds to employ a Florida real estate broker/consultant for this program is of additional concern.
According to the plan real estate transactions in Hot Springs Village would initially be assessed 0.85% of the sales price (e.g. $1700 for a $200.000 home sale). The formula would be applied to all transactions of both improved and unimproved lots in HSV with four enumerated exceptions (see Article 22, IID).
The GM’s email to Realtors refers to the proposed funding mechanism as “the third and final prong” of a three prong funding plan, the first prong being the two-tiered assessment vote and the second the reduction of golf subsidy.”
Shortly after receipt of the GM’s email, HSV Board of Realtors President James Buss called an urgent meeting of the HSV real estate company owners for 8:00 AM on Wednesday, January 13 at the HSV Area Chamber of Commerce conference room. After discussion, there being a consensus among the real estate company owners that urgent action was appropriate, the Realtors began a coordinated campaign to defeat the proposed measure. On January 18th, a message was emailed under signature of Harv Shelton, President of the HSVPOA Board of Directors stating that the proposed Development Contribution Fee would be pulled from the January 20th BOD agenda.
James Buss (HSV Board of Realtor President and Big Red Realty Principal Broker) along with Clay Herrmann (HSVBOR BOD member and Herrmann Realty Principal Broker) picked up POA BOD candidate packages from the POA office with less than two days left remaining before the filing deadline. Working together and with help from other Realtors to get the required petition signatures accomplished, both turned in their completed packages the next day before the 4:00 PM deadline. Confirmation that they are certified candidates came the next day. Five candidates are competing for three open BOD positions.
URGENT CALL TO ACTION emailed to members of the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors:
From: James Buss
Subject: Call to Action
Fellow Realtors, each and every one of us are independent business owners and most of us live in Hot Springs Village. January 20th at 9:00 AM at the Ponce De Leon Center the Hot Springs POA Board is meeting and one of the topics is a .85 transfer fee on all properties sold. This transfer fee could adversely affect each and every one of us.
Proponents of the transfer fee say it is no big deal and buyers won’t even notice it just like they don’t notice the transfer tax that started out at $25 and is now $150. Ask anyone who lives in Diamante if the transfer fee doesn’t bother them. What is starting out at $850.00 on a $100,000 house will knock some first time home buyers out of the market and some investors will look elsewhere for their investments. What happens when this new transfer tax increases to 5 times its present rate like it did with the current transfer tax. Home sales are just starting to move, this tax could cause the market to spiral downward.
And to top it off, this new transfer fee is going to be used to fund the new POA sales force. Unless you are planning on going to work as a POA sales person, this can’t be too exciting. If you don’t believe me ask a POA board member. I did.
The new transfer tax does not need member approval, so our only hope right now is convince the POA Board Members that this is a bad idea and put a stop to it before it is enacted. I believe this transfer tax will be bad for every property owner in HSV.
Please attend this meeting on January 20th, it could affect your business. If we don’t come out in force it will prove to the POA Board that we really don’t care about what goes on in our community. I am the designated spokesperson representing the HSVBOR and I look forward to your support.
James K. Buss, 2016 President
Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors