BELLA VISTA (KFSM) -- The Bella Vista Property Owners' Association is encouraging members to approve a membership fee increase during a vote in November.
The funds generated by the fee increase would go toward amenities like golf courses, parks, trails and playgrounds, according to the POA. The POA has not increased its fee in 14 years.
"If [the POA] had setup the covenants up properly whenever they first started out with an escalator, we would not be asking for these increases as we are almost every other year," said POA member James Prather.
Prather said he believes part of the problem are younger people who have moved into town who feel they do not use the amenities, so they do not want to pay more for them. He added he will not be surprised if the fee increase does not pass this time around.
"The people who moved here to begin with when they retired are on fixed incomes," Prather said. "So when you are asking for more revenue, if those incomes are no increased proportionately, it is a no win situation."
In a media release, the POA states Bella Vista amenities have become worn-down and outdated, which is bringing down property values. In the last year, the POA has had to use reserve funds to make improvements to facilities, according to the release.
People who own property in Bella Vista with a home on it, currently pay $24 a month for POA membership. The POA is asking for a $9 increase to $33 a month.
Maryann Johnson said she and many others understand fee increases are necessary, but she would like clarification on what services the POA is responsible for and what services the city is responsible for.
She said she is also concerned about the way the POA is using its reserve funds.
"The feeling is that they should be for emergencies and that some of the things it was spent for were not considered emergencies," Johnson said. "So I think if they could clear up those issues for the general public, I think it would have a much better chance of passage this time.”
Two meetings are scheduled at Riordan Hall to discuss the increase. The first will be Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. and the other is on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m.
Ballots will be mailed out to POA members on Sept. 1 and all ballots are due Nov. 1 when the results will be announced at Riordan Hall.
For more information about the fee increase, click here.