Large turnout at CV SID meeting

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
More than 100 property owners traveled to the Omaha Center in Cherokee Village to speak during the SID meeting.
Lauren Siebert

There was an unusually large turnout of attendance during the Cherokee Village Suburban Improvement District’s regular meeting Aug. 13, where more than 100 property owners traveled to the Omaha Center in Cherokee Village to attend the meeting.

The meeting opened with David Webb moving quickly through the agenda items, beginning with updates and announcements.

Webb announced the Omaha Pools hours will remain open through Labor Day, from noon until 7 p.m. seven days a week.

The Thunderbird Recreational Center pool hours will be noon until 7 p.m. weekends only.

Webb said the beach would remain open through the end of September but may remain open longer, weather permitting.

He announced a lease has been signed with a restaurant to open on at the South Golf course and if plans stay on course, will open Labor Day weekend.

Webb moved on to the golf report and announced the Cherokee Village Lions annual golf tournament would take place Aug. 25 and 26.

He then moved to the year to date income report. “Through July, we’ve collected $820,677 current assessed benefits, $143,462 of delinquent assessed benefits, $31,412 in collector fees for a total of $995,551. From the recreational amenities $195,558, $200,278 in interest income and other income of $67,027 for operating income $264,863. Expenditures through July, $1,413,031. Which is 60.99 percent of the budget,” Webb said.

Webb said it was about $152,000 to the negative.

“We get the largest part of our income in September and October,” Webb said. “It varies from year to year and those are the biggest ones. I can’t state those off of the top of my head.”

He then moved onto the Reassessment and Board of Equalization section of the agenda.

“The reassessment, the improvement district started in 1974, charging an assessment. There was a valuation given to the amenities. At that time there were three variables, how much road frontage; whether you lived on a lake and if you lived on a golf course or not. It started in 74’ with a 2.9 percent levy against that base value and then went up through the years until 1996 and by state statute it couldn’t go over that percentage. What you paid in 96’ is the same you paid in 2018, so it was a difference in income each year based on who was paying,” Webb said.

Webb explained in 1996 the money paid then was the same amount paid in 2018. The base evaluation stayed the same and remained at $132.40.

A reappraisal of the amenities was conducted and the value of the amenities was listed at about $100 million.

“State statute set the limit of 10 percent that could be charged so the only way to change the valuation and get more income was to to get a revaluation on the base. So it will allow for future growth down the road. Appraisers came and appraised everything to come up with a new base. When they did it, it’s like they wiped out everything in the 13,000 acres we had and then they valued what that property was worth. That was based on other sales and that broke down to $600 per lot. So now they add in the reappraisal to all of those amenities and what that value comes up to. It came up to $100 million and so those amenities are worth to your lot. If it was worth $600 before anything was here; We divide 25,362 and divided and subtracted the $600 off the $4,000 for a lot with nothing on it. That is how the valuation for a vacant lot was determined,” Webb said. “The next step was to go to a two category system; improved and unimproved.”

Of the income generated through assessment, the City of Cherokee Village receives 34 percent. The SID and City of Cherokee Village have shared responsibilities of streets and fire, however; the SID also has responsibility to maintain and expand recreational amenities.

“So now we’re to improved lots. That amount of money we projected to go to the city for 2018, those dollars plus the dollars for fire hydrants because the SID pays the water company for fire hydrants, that came to $731,000. Reduce that by 25 percent so that dollar value was what the residents here would get from that. Roads and streets, fire protection that was divided by the number of improved lots and that number is 3,394 lots; divided into that value, gave a value of $161. We projected working with the appraisers our assessment would fall in between. .04 and .06. They took the low number divided into that single value and $4040 and rounded to $4,000 as the value of those amenities as the value of those who have homes on their lots. So that $4,000 is added to the $3,400 to come up with $7,400 which was on the back of your letter.”

The value of amenities to the property owner is now $3,400 for unimproved and $7,400 for improved. Webb explained it’s not what the property is worth, just the value of the amenities to the property owners.

“That set a new base. The new base is set for 2019. That’s 44 years with no change in the base. When you get our county advalorum bill, that line item has been the same since 1996 . The assessor needed that to be able to put on your tax bill so that has to be filed in September for the counties proposed to move that from 10 percent down to 4.5. So 4.5 percent times $7,400 or 4.5 percent times $3,400 is what that will be so about $333 for improved and $153 for unimproved. We understand that’s quite a jump,” Webb said.

Webb then went on to explain the process for how the reassessment came to be, beginning with the letters required to be sent to property owners. Webb said there were 9,999 domestic certified letters sent. As well as an additional 4,000 which was explained as multiple owners. For registered overseas letters, 244 letters were sent.

The letters could not be sent out more than 30 days away from the Board of Equalization meeting which was a one on one meeting which took place between property owners and the board later that week to sort out disputes. One example was if a property owner received two improved lot letters but only had one lot with a home.

Following his explanation of how the reassessment came to be and the Board of Equalization’s purpose, Webb began taking questions from members in the audience.

The questions that follow were asked by property owners present at the meeting. The answers that follow were given by Webb.

Q: I didn’t get a letter so do I need to go get one from the SID?

A: When we sent the letters what database we had as of May 1 is what we used because we had to submit to the printing company.

Q: Is it common for an incorporated city to have an assessment rather than a property tax set by a board of directors instead of elected?

A: Are there situations where there’s an incorporated city along with a SID or a POA? Yes, there are situations like that. Bella Vistia is a POA like we’re an SID. We incorporated here in 1998 when we started to function right. The western side was incorporated and then they annexed the other side.

Q: Are they calling that an assessment or property tax?

A Ours is an assessment because taxes come from the cities.

Q: Who made the decision on the variable?

A: Commissioners did based on other communities who have gone down that route.

Q: Could you go over the amenities that were assessed again that they considered?

A: Lakes, dams, golf courses, campground, Omaha Center, Thunderbird Center, streets, fire departments, pools and parks.

Q: What is the plan for all this extra money?

A: See this orange carpet on the wall, [Webb said pointing to the surrounding walls of the Omaha Center] and the green carpet on the other walls? That was the answer years ago. We have an exhaustive list of things that need attention. Do we currently have any dollar figures with those? No. Not until we know what that steady stream is because there will be some fall off no doubt. Property owners who inherited and don’t want it.

At 4.5 percent based on unimproved and improved. The estimate [income] with no drop off [loss of property owners] which we know won’t be the true case, is $862,000 based on current ownership and no drop off but we know that’s not going to happen. Based on a 25 percent drop off $647, 000 of which $219,000 goes to roads and streets and the fire department.

We need to improve our facilities and roads. The decking on the pools is terrible I mean we pass dept of heath expensive.

Q: Regarding the amenities, for example the pools do you have income when people are actually using it? How does that equate to the cost of maintenance?

A: It doesn’t come close. None of our facilities come close to covering the expense of those facilities. We need more activity. This facility opened in 72’ and it’s the same pools and equipment. Thankfully, we have a good thing that fix those things as they break.

Q: If you have two lots, would you have received two separate letters?

A: Only if they were different addresses.

Q: For all the excess property here, is there someone who holds a title?

A: [SID holds the title] SID does not pay an assessment to ourselves.

Q: Is that American Land [Company]?

Q: Does American land pay on theirs? They pay the new assessed fee. As far as I know I’m not sure.

They would be lots they would own if it’s improved or unimproved those same values.

Q: The first part is, were hours of operation taken into account during the assessment?

A: No

Q: Second part, I don’t remember what was said up there but what are these funds going to be used for? You say an exhaustive list but we need to see a budget breakdown and the third part it seems like its’ already been approved and is out of our hands is that true.

A:The Board of Equalization is where you will challenge that. That’s correct.

The question and answer session rolled on for quite some time prior to getting to the speakers section of the meeting.

Evelyn Pernell was first to speak. She stated she was in real estate for more than 10 years and has seen the state of the Village going down hill.

Council member Chuck Kristopeit was next to speak and began by addressing the claim that roads would be greatly improved through the assessment.

“I think it’s a little bit deceiving that we’re saying a lot of money is going to be spent on roads, where as it is now 12 percent of SID fees goes to roads. That’s not going to be a lot of money. People think there’s going to be this abundance of roadwork done and that’s not going to be the case. I don’t think it should be geared and sold that that’s going to be one of the main things when only 12 percent goes to that,” Kristopeit said. “We get 34 percent from the SID to the city. 12 percent goes to roads and the remaining percentage to the fire departments.”

Bill Owens and several speakers that followed also took to the podium to announce their distaste with the two tier system, arguing if the amenities were based on worth to the property owner, all fees should be the same since all amenities were available to owners.

The structure of the SID board as well as the lack of property owner control or input was also voiced by citizens.

The SID board is comprised of three commissioners. If one commissioner resigns, the remaining two appoint the vacant space.

Several speakers also came forward to state they felt the funds should be split equally between the city and SID stating a 50/50 split would allow for more improvements.

The conversation again returned to what speakers felt were issues of transparency and voicelessness.

Hannah Eisenberg, said she has lived in the Village nearly 15 years and felt as though the SID’s comparison to Holliday Island was misleading.

“I wanted to talk about a few things with regards to the appraiser. One, trying to compare us to Eureka or Holliday Island. That is two times the cost to buy there than here. If we’re comparing apples to apples this is not apples to apples. The beautiful part of the island is there are places to make an income and a living. I absolutely agree that additional monies should we give you our money and what you do is very much that of a homeowners association,” Eisenberg said. “I was a developer in California and did a lot of construction and that was one of the biggest mandates, even if you have losses. For 14 years I’ve never gotten one update from anyone ever nor has SID put it in the newspaper. With regards to what is the cost, what is the budget. We can see things are not right but depending on our professions we know about what it would cost to do but you don’t show us what the respect of what you’re going through. So we don’t have a clue except now we’re getting hit in the teeth since our funds are making it so you can do your jobs we just want to know what you’re doing with our money. So now we don’t have that luxury. I feel like I’m being twisted around and I have no say.”

More speakers took to the podium.

Following the meeting, it was clarified that the reappraisal and levy are complete and will go into effect, however; property owners will have another opportunity to speak during the Sept. 10 meeting when the rate will be set. No evening meetings have been scheduled as of press time.

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  • Wow. I would have thought with the anticipation of the public outcry at the poor communication of the SID fee increase, that the SID Commission would have been more prepared at the meeting. Instead, Webb is still making statements admitting that the fee which DOUBLES the amount for homeowners, is not really gonna help the roads that much, and that they havent gotten into the weeds as to what its going to cover. Well, heck, where is the projected budget. What's the point of the increase then if it isnt going to help infrastructure? He keeps repeating like a parrot that the fee hasnt been raised since 1996. well, so what? You basically live in a community where more than 20% of the population live at or below the poverty line, people are living in rental houses funded with housing vouchers, or retired folks on social security. There are no jobs. So if you double the fees for homeowners, you are only going to fix a few things and cant name what those things are, how is this really going to help the community? I agree with Hannah Eisenberg, the whole thing feels like a cram-down.

    -- Posted by conventional1 on Thu, Aug 23, 2018, at 6:32 PM
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