Q and A: Holley Navarre Water System Candidates

All eight candidates for Holley Navarre Water System’s (HNWS) Board of Directors were asked about their qualifications and the water system’s future. Board members will be chosen by the membership (ratepayers) of the system in an election Jan. 15. Absentee ballots and proxies are currently available ahead of election day through the water system’s office.

This is the second installment of questions. The first installment of questions can be viewed in the Dec. 13 issue.

Questions:

  1. How would you ensure transparency and accountability to the membership in all HNWS business?
  2. What are your expectations for management of a restaurant at Hidden Creek Golf Course? How soon can we expect that situation to be resolved if you are elected to the board?
  3. Looking to the future of Hidden Creek Golf Course, how do you plan to ensure the golf course is run effectively? What should the ultimate goal be for the golf course?
  4. Areas throughout the service area of HNWS are lacking fire hydrants, which increases insurance costs and time required to fight a fire for residents. What would you do to address this issue?
  5. What is the biggest challenge facing the water system going forward? How can the board tackle this challenge?

 

Joseph Genovese
Occupation: Owner of One Source Home Inspectors

  1. “If I am elected into an open seat, I will have only one vote. Transparency and accountability start with the public’s vote. We must put people onto this board who we know will run it in the right direction.”
  2. “Restaurant managers must be held to a high standard. There are too many restaurants in this area that have come and gone. Bad service, poor quality food, and other situations have caused these fair shares of restaurants to close, leaving Navarre starving for more choices to take our families out to eat. Hidden Creek is a prime location. In my opinion, a golf course restaurant should be run by a top-rated manager.”
  3. “When the water company first purchased the golf course, it was advertised that in the future, it would be one of Florida’s top 100 rated courses. I do not feel that has happened. Closing the restaurant certainly did not help its ratings. If we all want a top-rated course in our area, we must bring in the right people to run it. Starting with management and working downward. Professional individuals who have a proven track record to run such a facility are the only ones who should be hired.”
  4. “Everyone has the right to feel safe no matter where you live in our county. If elected, I would vote on finding the resources to ensure everyone’s home can be protected in a timely manner in case of a fire.”
  5. “This is in direct correlation with question 1, and I believe it has a lot to do with accountability. What is the public’s opinion of the water company? Right now, there seems to be a lack of trust. We can all change that. Please go and vote for the person you feel can make sound decisions on the direction of our town.”

 

Yvonne Harper Occupation: Architectural Supervisor
Education: B.A. Political Science, M.A. Public Policy

  1. “Simple: conduct all board business in open meetings, clearly post all agendas, and develop means to communicate with the membership. When the membership has questions, answer those questions. Of course, there are meetings that are closed such as personnel/legal meetings, but the majority of the business can be conducted in an open manner.”
  2. “Questions 2-5 presuppose I have information I do not have; therefore, I am uncomfortable providing an uneducated, uninformed answer to such serious issues. What I can state is that if on the board, I will take the time to speak with staff, and research each issue to ensure the best decision is made.”
  3. See question 2.
  4. See question 2.
  5. See question 2.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Kennedy
Occupation: Owner of SMS Consulting Inc.
Education: B.S. Computer Science from North Georgia College

  1. “We should follow the principles of the Sunshine Law to provide information to our members. For example, the filling of a CEO position is an example of when the board should have kept all the members informed and also allow them to provide feedback. The board has released information that has been redacted of personal information in the past, so it is possible to provide information to members and remove personal information.”
  2. “Unfortunately, the board was unable to get any company to commit to leasing the restaurant area at Hidden Creek. So we will have to start from the beginning and send out RFPs. I support local businesses, so I hope a local restaurant is interested.  The date for a resolution would be determined by how many responses we have.”
  3. “Many have said Hidden Creek is better than the Destin resort courses because the golf course is in outstanding shape and gets amazing reviews for playability, price point, and service. Golfnow.com reviews have Hidden Creek at 4.4 out of 5 stars. Hidden Creek management and staff have continued to provide an excellent golfing experience in more recent years.  The goal would be to continue to support management in developing goals to make sure Hidden Creek is a viable and profitable asset.  We want the course and the club to be more attractive to entice more visitors to spend their leisure time here in Navarre.”
  4. “We would work on the policy and procedures needed to make sure that these deficiencies are addressed. Develop technology to better report these needs from the members and use this information to develop an action plan to address them.”
  5. “With members’ input, we can develop short, medium, and long-term goals. Then the board can communicate the vision and goals to the members. With a plan in place we can work together for progress toward an achievable goal.  As we communicate better then trust is established and as a community, we can tackle any challenge ahead.Come join us at the next HNWS board meeting Dec. 18 at 6 p.m.  Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/4forHNWS.org for our pledge, more information, and how you can support ‘Building a Strong Foundation for the Future of Holley Navarre Water System.’”

 

Kevin Lanier
Occupation: Retired
Education: Columbus College, Southern Institute of Technology, North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy, Quayside Real Estate School

  1. “This is very important to me. Transparency has to start at the top. We could amend the bylaws to require it, but this would require a majority of the entire membership to approve. Or the Board could agree through a resolution to abide by the standards of transparency. However, that resolution would be subject to change with future boards.”
  2. “The vendor that is selected to run the restaurant should be responsible for the cost of buildout and pay for any utilities used. The location could either be a fixed rental agreement or a negotiated percentage of gross sales. Having a restaurant at the golf course is important to the golfers and the community.  Having said that, it needs to be a profitable business.  It shouldn’t be a money-losing proposition for HNWS just to have a restaurant at the golf course.”
  3. “Once the need for the golf course as a spray field is reduced or eliminated, I would like to see the course leased to a private group that has experience running championship golf courses. I have no interest in selling the course or shutting it down. It is too valuable to the Navarre community and the homeowners of Hidden Creek Estates.”
  4. “The largest and most important asset in most people’s lives is their home. Having adequate access to water is a critical part of HNFD success. I fully support the fire department and the members of HNWS. Areas that have been neglected need to be reviewed and corrected.”
  5. “The biggest challenge is the recent hiring of the CEO, who will not be able to be fully utilized for the immediate needs of the water department. Our top priority is the Rapid Infiltration Basin system for effluent disposal. Our new CEO will not be able to negotiate this project with the county due to state law. Had the Board acted in the members’ best interest, they would have hired someone with an engineering background with management/operational experience with a municipal water system who could work with the county on this most important project.”

 

 

Fred Terasa           Occupation: Retired Army officer

  1. “My word is my bond. First, I would ensure that the board and management seek input from the membership to ensure that we are meeting their needs. Second, board meetings need to be conducted in a professional, open manner where members can hear everything that is said, can gain answers to their questions and concerns, and recognize that the HNWS is focused on member satisfaction. Working with HNWS management it is my intention to ensure that more information (operational and financial) is presented so that members will develop confidence in the health of the system and in its ability to meet our future water and effluent disposal needs.”
  2. “I believe that a new RFP needs to be sent out immediately, soliciting new and old proposals. The Club at Hidden Creek needs to be self-sustaining. The lack of revenue from the lease of the restaurant portion of the clubhouse is an inhibitor to that end.  The board has already wasted six months on this issue.  We cannot open the restaurant too soon.”
  3. “Our golf course is the finest in the area. As a member of the Club at Hidden Creek, I am pleased to say that the current climate at the Club is excellent. The management team in place now are working together, and you can see their successes on a daily basis. The board simply needs to put the Club on a level playing field as to facilities (clubhouse, outdoor bathrooms, sandtraps, etc.), get a sports bar formatted restaurateur in place, and then let the team get it done.  The Club is too valuable an amenity and asset to the Navarre community for HNWS to allow it to be sold to an outside entity which may allow it to get rundown as it was in the past.”
  4. “As a homeowner, adequate fire protection is vital to me. My research on the fire hydrant issue has raised more questions than answers! Issues such as who is responsible, who pays, etc. lead me to believe that this issue must be review in detail by the HNWS board in collaboration with all entities involved (county, local fire departments, etc.)  Fire hydrants are in my top ten of issues we will address if I am elected.”
  5. “Aside from the RIB at Eglin AFB, the board must gain the trust and confidence of our Members.  This experience as a candidate for the board has fully illustrated to me that the only impediment to the long-term health of the HNWS is the good ole boy attitude of the current board of directors.  It is time that our members take charge and reclaim their rightful place as ‘owners’ by electing a ‘new’ board committed to them!

Remember, only you can change the culture of the HNWS board of directors by voting for Fred Terasa, Mike Kennedy, Yvonne Harper and Kevin Lanier.”

 

Joe Aguirre

Multiple attempts were made to contact Aguirre, but no response was given. Aguirre has been on the board since July. Navarre Press will continue to seek Aguirre’s response and requests he call our office at 850-710-7013 (reporter’s desk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Larson

Larson declined to answer these questions. Larson has served on the board since July and serves as secretary/treasurer for the water system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Jones

Multiple attempts were made to contact Jones, but no response was given. Navarre Press will continue to seek Jones’ response and requests she call our office at 850-710-7013 (reporter’s desk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

As seen in the Dec. 20 issue of Navarre Press.

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