Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PART II - Snowshoe Resort Area District?



25 March 2014, Vol.1, No.23 > Snowshoe RAD – PART II

The POCAHONTAS CRIER

The Pocahontas Crier is an independent Internet News Service that has so far endorsed two candidates for County Commission
       one a Republican & the other a Democrat  
in addition to providing in depth news reporting on important
ssues directly affecting the Citizens of Pocahontas County!
Email all Info to: pocahontascrier@gmail.com

PART II > WHAT’S A…
 ‘SNOWSHOE RESORT AREA DISTRICT’?

While ‘Part I’ was originally meant to be an inclusive summary in and of itself, it quickly became apparent from the numerous inquiries that certain additional information needed to be brought out into the open so that as many as possible would know as much of the facts as possible regarding those areas being designated as a ‘Resort Area District’ (RAD), whereby WVC §7-25-1, et seq. was to amend and reenact WVC §30-29-1, and in particular the present proposal for a ‘Snowshoe Resort Area District’ (SRAD)!  Why is this important?  Because so far only two of the nine candidates for county commission, NORMAN LEE ALDERMAN (REP-SD) & PATTI HEINEMANN (DEM-ND), both of whom have been endorsed by the Editorial Staff of The Pocahontas Crier, have shown the courage, duty & integrity to tell all Voters not only the REAL ISSUES facing this county – but also their united solutions to place ‘The Common Good before Self or any Special Interest’!

Part II – Summary Analysis

Some of you may remember when Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. came before the county commission several years back, BEFORE THE 2010 Winter Olympics, asking for the creation of a Snowshoe-TIF (Tax Increment Financing District) in order to provide funds to pay-off revenue bonds and other financial obligations to ostensibly finance all or part of an economic development project!  THAT proposal was to allow the increased property tax income provided by the proposed development project or coming from the increase of value on all property within a development area to be used to pay-off the bonds used to finance the project!  And now that Intrawest & Fortress are in DEBT pursuant to the 2010 Winter Olympics – they are looking for a new scheme to provide them ‘Life-Support’ to at least pay the usury/interest on their massive $1.5+ BILLION DEBT for as long as their creditors will permitbefore the inevitable reality of bankruptcy sets in!  So now the new scheme is called a ‘Resort Area District’ (RAD)!

Now for those that know a little about ‘business v. individual’ tax-advantages, it’s also apparent that while all commercial-owners of Snowshoe & Silver Creek properties can absorb any & all additional costs placed upon them as ‘business-expenses’ , i.e., the cost-of-doing-business, they can also take respective ‘tax-deductions’ for those costs-of-doing- business – and that such may not be the case for all individual property-owners!  So once again it’s all about how well & how long the ‘shoemakers’ can hold out along side of the ‘tycoons’!  In short, how many times can you eat out at a restaurant compared to Donald Trump?  And although Trump has filed ‘bankruptcy’ two times – he still alleges that his personal worth exceeds $2.2 Billion – a lot of which is ‘other-peoples-money’ (OPM)!

But for a full analysis of what recently transpired within the West Virginia Legislature, via Lobbyists on behalf of the ‘foreign’ Canadian-owned Intrawest-Vancouver holding company @49%, and Donald Trump’s New York Fortress Hedge-Fund @51%, it is recommended that everyone interested in this matter read & study the new West Virginia Code, designated exclusively for a ‘Resort Area District’ like Snowshoe Mountain, Inc., at WVC § 7-25-1, et seq., see < http://www.legis.state.wv.us/bill_status/bills_text.cfm?billdoc=hb2600%20intr.htm&yr=2013&sesstype=RS&i=2600 >; and the Snowshoe ‘Petition’ to establish its own RAD as presented to the county commission can be viewed in four parts at < http://pocahontascommentatorplus.blogspot.com/2014/03/resort-area-district-introductory-letter.html;  http://pocahontascommentatorplus.blogspot.com/2014/03/resort-area-district-ownership-a.html; http://pocahontascommentatorplus.blogspot.com/2014/03/resort-area-district-ownership-b.html; and,

What follows is a further summary with an expanded analysis since a vote in favor of creating a Snowshoe-RAD by the current county commission would establish a RAD as a PERMANENT ‘Public Corporation’ & ‘Political Subdivison’ within this county; authorize SRAD to levy assessments upon real property; pay all assessments to the sheriff; provide for liens against property subject to assessment; authorize SRAD-Rangers as law-enforcement officers subject to the same training & requirements of other law-enforcement officers, i.e., State Troopers & Deputy Sheriff Officers; and other sundry matters!  

At this rate, with Snowshoe having its own corporate ‘private-militia’ of  ‘Snowshoe Rangers’, and the new Federal Police Force to occupy & patrol the planned 123,000+ acres of the proposed new federal park designated as the ‘Birthplace of Rivers National Monument’, there may eventually be more corporate ‘armed guards’ in Pocahontas County than working Citizens!  It’s almost reminiscent of the Coal Operator’s corporate army of ‘Baldwin-Felts’ gunmen in the Coal Field Wars trying to outnumber the Miners & Farmers!  Or for that matter, it’s almost as if someone is trying to turn all of Pocahontas County into one giant PLANTATION with a few at the top and all the rest of us at the bottom treated as SLAVES with ‘slave-wages’ – assigned to the ‘house’ or to the ‘field’ – and watched over by men with whips & guns!

At any rate, let’s take a look at what is in place & developing:

Mountain Top Assessment Fee

Ever since Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. came into existence, they created a ‘maintenance-fee’ for each property-owner called a ‘Mountain Top Assessment’ (MTA) based on 1.5% of the assessed value of each property – and in times of prosperity that ‘fee’ was acclaimed adequate for the upkeep of:
a.    Public Safety;
b.   Fire Protection;
c.    Shuttle Transportation;
d.   Common/Shared Roads; and,
e.    Grounds Maintenance. 

But now Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. is alleging that due to the fall in real estate values since 2008, the MTA funding is shrinking and may not or will not return even if real estate values again increase!  So Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. wants to not only keep the MTA in effect – but also create a new ‘sales tax’, aka, ‘resort service fee’ via the creation of a ‘Snowshoe Resort Area District’ (SRAD).

Snowshoe Resort Area District (SRAD)

The currently proposed 2% ‘resort service fee’ being touted by Snowshoe is only for discussion purposes at this stage – that will be decided AFTER a new board is elected – and only promised for a period of three-years if & when it goes into effect as proposed on 01 December 2014, yet by law the ‘fee’ can go as high as 5% at any time the seven-person-board decides it’s necessary.  And the ‘resort service fee’ is being proposed to be imposed upon all retail sales & services that take place anywhere within the boundaries of SRAD!  This new ‘fee’ will not replace the MTA, but become an additional source of revenue in conjunction with the MTA.  As such, this new ‘resort service fee’ will not only go towards the same five services covered by the MTA, but also go towards payment of any ‘debt infrastructure’ currently incurred by Intrawest & Fortress, all new capital improvements, and any future debt incurred!

The West Virginia Code at §7-25-20, Indebtedness of Resort Area District, clearly PROVIDES NO LIMITATION, to wit:

No constitutional or statutory limitation with respect
to the nature or amount of or rate of interest on indebtedness which may be incurred by municipalities, counties or other public or governmental bodies shall apply to the indebtedness of a resort area district.”

There is no mistaking that NO LIMITATION as to how much DEBT Intrawest of Vancouver & Fortress Hedge-Fund of New York can accumulate – before they ‘Go Bust’ once their creditors can take no more!  All of this current hooplah appears as nothing more than a ‘smoke-screen’ to provide the owners of Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. ‘Life-Support’ for as long as possible!

Property Improvement Equity

A sinister side of this ‘smoke & mirrors’ is that Snowshoe-RAD can indebt all property-owners up to ANY AMOUNT, when at first it was limited to just the amount of its annual budget of about $40 Million in which about 80% was to be secured by residential improved real property and enforced by governmental liens!  The final version of the new law however left out the limitation of the ‘annual budget’ and now it’s open-ended yet still enforced by governmental liens under the ‘duties’ of the sheriff!  See WVC §7-25-8. Powers of RAD.

WVC §7-25-8, Powers of resort area district >

(g) Upon following the procedures set forth in this article, assess the cost of all or any portion of a project on real property located within the resort area district;

(k) Borrow money and incur indebtedness and other obligations and evidence the same by certificates, notes or debentures;
(l) Raise funds by the issuance and sale of assessment bonds and resort service fee bonds;
(m) Annually, on or before June 7, certify to the sheriff of the county in which the property is located the assessments granted against all property in the district for inclusion in the tax ticket;
(n) Charge interest and levy fines and penalties on unpaid assessments;
(o) Create and enforce liens for unpaid assessments;

(s) Provide services necessary to protect the health and welfare of residents in a resort area district and the value of property therein and to enter into agreements with any governmental agency, public or private agency, institution or person for the furnishing of such services;
(t) Provide for the public safety, including the appointment of resort area rangers…

Providing ‘health & welfare’ to both residents and SRAD board members, and who knows who else, should prove interesting in the hands of New York Fortress Hedge-Fund managers, don’t you think?  And let’s not forget the additional miscellaneous expenses incurred by having a private police force in effect!  While the commercial business property owners can pass these costs along to their respective customers so they can have a ‘show place’ to wine & dine clients, girlfriends or mistresses – and occasionally maybe even a family member or so – the same scenario may not be the same for individual and/or retired property-owners who have to foot these additional expenses on their own!  It’s anyone’s guess whether or not the ‘rental-income’ for their properties under the auspices of Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. will be sufficient enough @ 60/40 split to cover all the additional expenses!

And if these ‘proposals’ aren’t sufficient to raise an eyebrow or two, consider the fact that this county already suffers under two alleged ‘public corporations stealing its assets, lands & funds for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many!  Since the former Pocahontas Development Authority (PDA), a ‘public corporation’, was so corrupted by its involvement with the Howes Leather ‘clean-up’ fiasco, along with the attempted theft of the publicly-owned former Hanover Shoe Co. building & property by the private-for-profit West Virginia Shoe Co. and its scam to get ‘government grant funds’ from State Agencies, and then in its scam with the American Shoe, Co. to get ‘federal grant funds’, the PDA was forced into bankruptcy & dissolved accordingly.  BUT things only got worse as the so-called Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC), a private-corporation that claims to be a ‘quasi-public-corporation’, replaced the former PDA and has been STEALING LAND, FUNDS & ASSETS from Pocahontas County ever since! 

And what about the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority (PCSWA) established to operate an ‘open-dump-landfill’ as a ‘public corporation’, only to find that it has gone way beyond its statutory limitations by creating & imposing an ‘assessment fee’, then illegally hiring a private-collections-agency to collect the ‘assessment fee’ by placing LIENS upon private-property & households!  DOES THIS SOUND A LOT LIKE WHAT A SNOWSHOE-RAD WILL DO, or what?  And in case anyone has any doubts about SRAD, take a look:

WVC §7-25-2.  Findings.

(a) "Assessment" means the fee, including interest, paid by an owner of real property located within a resort area district to pay for the cost of a project or projects constructed upon or benefiting or protecting such property and administrative expenses thereto, which fee is in addition to all taxes and other fees levied on the property.

(b) "Assessment bonds" means special obligation bonds or notes issued by a resort area district which are payable from the proceeds of assessments.


25% Required to Oppose a RAD

Pursuant to WVC §7-25-4. Power and authority of county commissions to create and establish resort area districts:

(a) The owners of at least sixty-one percent of the real property, determined by acreage, located within the boundaries of the resort area described in the petition, by metes and bounds or otherwise in a manner sufficient to describe the area, may petition a governing body to create or expand a resort area district.

(b)(6) The proposed rate or rates, not to exceed five percent of the purchase price, of the resort service fee and the proposed classes of goods and services to which each rate shall apply….

WVC §7-25-6.  Notice to property owners before creation or expansion of resort area district; form of notice; affidavit of publication:

(b) A resort area district may not be created by a governing body if, at the public meeting required by this section, written protest is filed by at least twenty-five percent of the owners of real property proposed to be included within the district. In the event of such a protest, the petition for the creation of the resort area district may not be resubmitted to the governing body for a period of at least one year from the date of the original submission.

First comes a ‘review of the petition’ by the county commission, then comes a public hearing, then comes a vote by the property-owners on the mountain, then comes approval or disapproval – and if not approved – a year must pass before another vote can take place!  Meanwhile, Frank DeBerry, COO of Snowshoe Mountain, Inc., has indicated that there are no other options available at this time if the proposed Snowshoe-RAD is not approved!  The scheme to have property-owners finance the 2010 Winter Olympics began with a proposed ‘Snowshoe-TIF-District’ around 2008 – 2009, and when the Vancouver Olympics became a financial failure, Intrawest sold off 51% of its holdings to Donald Trump’s Fortress New York Hedge-Fund, but then Trump failed to pay his share on time and creditors were prepared to foreclose on Intrawest on the first Friday of the 2010 Winter Olympics!  But Intrawest sold off enough of its resorts to stay off the creditors until after the 2010 Winter Olympics closed.  Now they are trying to stay on ‘Life-Support’ for as long as they can by just paying the usury/ interest on the $1.5+ BILLION DEBT.

It would be a whole lot simpler if the State of West Virginia took over Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. and relegated it to Pocahontas County for its day to day operations – as the folks in this county are doing already!  Such an act would save a great deal of money & pain-of-anguish upon the property-owners on the mountain!  But since the State of West Virginia is not about to bail out a private-for-profit foreign corporation, or one of Trump’s Hedge-Funds – then the next painful option is to pass-the-buck to those already caught in the ‘resort-trap’ – the existing & future property-owners! 

Below is the footnote of the recent WV Legislation for a RAD, see for yourself if you too want to own property on the mountain under these drastic circumstances:

“NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize county commissions to create resort area districts; provide for the petition process for creation or expansion of resort area districts; provide notice requirements for creation or expansion of resort area districts; provide that resort area districts are public corporations and political subdivisions; set forth powers of resort area districts; authorize resort area districts to undertake capital projects; authorize resort area districts to levy assessments upon real property; authorize resort area districts to borrow money and incur indebtedness; authorize resort area districts to issue assessment bonds and resort service fee bonds; authorize resort area districts to impose penalties for unpaid assessments; authorize resort area districts to levy resort service fee on purchases of certain goods and services; authorize resort area districts to provide public services; authorize resort area districts to provide for public safety and appoint resort area rangers; provide for official name of resort area districts; provide for creation of resort area boards; set forth powers and certain procedures for resort area boards; provide for election of resort area board members; provide election procedures for resort area boards; require certain resort area board members to give bond; provide notice requirements for resort area boards election; provide procedures and notice requirements for resort service fee implementation and administration; provide procedures for implementing and providing services within resort area districts; require adoption of budget annually; provide procedures for implementation of assessments; provide notice requirements for assessments; provide procedures for construction of capital projects; provide procedures for revision of assessments; exempt public property from assessments; provide terms for assessment bonds and resort service fee bonds; exempt assessment bonds and resort service fee bonds from state taxation; provide that indebtedness of resort area district to be paid solely from resort service fee and assessments; provide procedure for payment of assessments to sheriff; authorize sheriff to collect delinquent assessments; provide for lien against property subject to assessment and notice thereof; provide for appointment of resort area rangers; authorize resort area rangers to exercise authority of law-enforcement officers; require annual audit of resort area districts; provide for liberal construction of article; and provide that resort area rangers are considered law-enforcement officers subject to the same training and requirements as other law-enforcement officers.”

A cursory review of this whole matter clearly shows that establishing a RAD provides the MANAGEMENT a means FOR THEIR EMPLOYMENT at the expense of everyone else! 
And as clearly shown in the new law, as well as in the proposed ‘Petition’, in all examples, as set forth in Part I of this exposé – ALL SEVEN BOARD MEMBERS FOR THE PROPOSED SRAD COULD COME FROM INTRAWEST & FORTRESS were they to exercise all their control since they own the overwhelming majority of all commercial property let alone all the undeveloped land, including the ‘Air Units’ of proposed parcels not yet developed but entitled to a VOTE since those units are already divided for development – and those units constitute a ‘block-vote’ in the hundreds if or when they would be needed for majority control!  Even so on the face of things, Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. will control 4 of the 7 seats OUTRIGHT and maybe even one or more of the three seats allocated to individual and commercial property owners – if Snowshoe voted its ‘Air Units’!  And last but not least, let us not forget that once a board of seven persons is elected – THERE NEED NOT BE ANY FURTHER ELECTIONS, EVER – just a replacement for any one of the original seven when the time comes!  By definition, as clearly set forth in Part I, this whole idea in both form & practice constitutes outright ‘Corporate Fascism’ by definition – a top-down corporate-government resting upon the backs of property-owners & workers!   

Only two of the nine candidates for county commission have had the foresight, courage & integrity to bring this information before the public for consideration & review…so…

THIS TIME…there’s no excuse…
 IT’S YOUR CHOICE…
TO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER!

Just say ‘NO’ to those who want to keep this county in Poverty & Pauperism
– and –
Just SAY ‘YES’ to real Progress & Prosperity for the future!

On Primary Day – YOU have a chance to elect two persons that will always put YOU first!  They know that:

THE GREATER COMMON GOOD ALWAYS COMES BEFORE SELF OR ANY SELF-SERVING SPECIAL INTEREST!

Keep up to Date – Stay tuned to these Websites:




  IF YOU are registered to vote as a Republican, you can
       Vote for Norman Lee Alderman in the Primary Election
       on 13 May 2014;
  IF YOU are registered to vote as a Democrat, you can
      Vote for Patti Heinemann in the primary election on
      13 May 2014;
  If you are not registered to vote, then you must register
      to vote on or before 22 April 2014;
  If you are registered to vote, but with no party
      affiliation, then you must request Loud & Clear either
      a Republican or Democrat ballot on Primary Day when
      you go to the polls;  &
  Since Norman is unopposed, he recommends that you 
      request a Democrat ballot to vote for Patti so that this 
      county can again have an Honest & Just county 
      commission!
   Early Voting is from 30 April 2014 to 10 May 2014 – so
       Vote Early & avoid the rush!


Email  comments & suggestions to: The Pocahontas Crier  at pocahontascrier@gmail.com  
If you wish to financially assist, kindly send all campaign contributions to: The United Campaign for County Commission (UCCC), c/o Citizens for Common Sense Alternatives (CCSA), a registered Political Action Committee, 7837 Wesley Chapel Road, Green Bank, West Virginia 24944-9063 
Phone: 1.304.456.4565 or 3282 (also fax)

[The Pocahontas Crier is part of The Crier Coalition of Internet News Services comprised of The Pocahontas Commentator,
The Pocahontas Crier, Signal Fires of WV & Echoes from the Holl’r.]

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