Snowshoe Mountain Resort CEO DeBerry defines RAD
On August 19th, during the Pocahontas County Commission meeting, the commission will act on the petition to establish a Resort Area District [RAD] at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Four months ago, the resort filed the petition to create the RAD, which would encompass Snowshoe Mountain and Silver Creek resorts. If it’s approved, the RAD would give the resulting 7-member board the ability to charge a 2% “resort service fee” on goods and services to keep up the assets maintained by the existing Mountain Top Assessment (MTA). Resort management would hold a four-seat majority on the seven-member governing board.
Many affected property owners are opposed to the RAD, with a recent tally showing that they were only 15 votes short of successfully blocking the process for one year. Allegheny Mountain Radio spoke with Snowshoe Mountain Resort President Frank DeBerry about the RAD. In this first report, DeBerry talks about what defines a RAD and how it specifically applies to Snowshoe.
Can you talk a little bit about what a resort area district is in general and then what details are specific to the one being proposed at Snowshoe.
“Resort area districts or some version of resort area districts have been set up at several places around the country and really the difference between a resort area district and a regular municipality is that a resort area district is the type of public corporation that allows property owners to vote for a board of directors to run the districts affairs,” said DeBerry. “As opposed to being limited to residency which a typical political subdivision like a municipality might have. The reason that’s important at a resort property is because a resort property is obviously largely second homes and our estimate right now is that fewer than one percent of the total homes that are owned here on the mountain are actually occupied by residents and registered voters within Pocahontas county. Therefore in order for them to have some sort of say over how their own property and the services that supply their property are performed, the resort area district will allow property ownership to elect members to the board.”
“The Snowshoe specific resort area district was really conceived and pursued in order to supplement the different types of services the homeowners are already paying for, but in order to provide funding mechanisms outside of just continued assessments against homeownership.”
DeBerry says nearly all of the homeowners, as well as the resort itself, pay into the Mountain Top Assessement fund or MTA. He says the fund is used to pay for a variety of services such as maintaining roads, snow removal, maintaining common area grounds, as well as public safety and fire protection services.
“We’re at a point right now where the infrastructure has grown and it’s also aged, and the current level of funding at the rates we’ve been assessing, are not keeping up with those costs,” said DeBerry. “So rather than just go and assess more money to the homeowners, we decided to and have pursued the concept of the resort area district which allows us to set up what’s called a resort service fee which is a user generated fee on things like lift tickets and food and beverage and retail purchases.”
DeBerry says this fee would supplement the MTA and allow the resort to do more.
“And the other thing it does is it takes the total control of those services out of the hands of Snowshoe and puts it more into a community type of organization.”
This is part one of a three part interview with DeBerry – more to come.