Thursday, July 10, 2014


10 JULY 2014, Vol.1, No.61 > PART VIII – SNOWSHOE RAD: FACT vs. FICTION!

‘When the Righteous succeed the people rejoice,
But when the bad govern, men groan!’ – Proverbs 29:2
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Now that the first of two public meetings have been completed, it should becoming clearer as to who will ACTUALLY CONTROL the proposed ‘Snowshoe Resort Area District’ (SRAD), pursuant to the State Law establishing ‘RADs’ in any county that wants one!  See the new law at: < >.

The second & last of the two meetings will occur on Saturday, 19 July 2014 @ 10 a.m. in the County Courthouse in Marlinton.  Hopefully it will be held from the 'get-go' in the courtroom this time instead of starting in the hallway as took place at the first meeting on 07 July 2014 – that’s IF the ‘Three Stooges’ that we currently have as county commissioners have any Common Sense, but who is willing to bet their paycheck to that effect!

Meanwhile, here is a relatively interesting response posted by Frank DeBerry, CEO, of Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. (SMI), and found at: < >.  Posted within the same report enclosed will be sections of the new State Law, as it applies to RADs, as posted above, and you can compare the comments of DeBerry to what the actual law states on its face!  If you believe in ‘Luck’, then you’ll need it – since ‘luck’ generally belongs to the ‘Snowshoe Rabbit’!  Due to space constraints, we are only providing a SUMMARY – YOU will have to review the entire State Law to acquire a candid conclusion.  But according to DeBerry, certain homeowner-folks are spreading ‘rumors’ that the CEO claims are simply ‘not true’ – so you decide for yourself, as follows: 

RUMOR #1 >
Rumor : That Snowshoe’s ultimate goal behind the RAD is to collateralize your property in order to finance new construction projects for our benefit.
Answer: Completely false:
● It would be impossible and illegal for the RAD to use your property as security or collateral for any funding. While the RAD does have the ability to borrow or to sell bonds to finance projects, the RAD does not own your property, it cannot take your property, it cannot foreclose on your property, it cannot grant permission for a lending body to foreclose on your property.
●IF the Board were to propose a special assessment to fund a project by 6 of 7 vote, thus requiring homeowner board-member support AND if only the homeowners supported the project either by petition or referendum vote), then the property owners being benefited by that project would indeed be required to pay the assessment, and the RAD could indeed place a lien on your property until that assessment is paid.
● This is the exact protection put in place to support the Mountain Top Assessment payments. The difference between the two is that MTA assessments are annual, mandatory, and at the discretion of Snowshoe; whereas RAD special assessments must be supported by homeowners, and would only be used for special projects deemed necessary by the board and approved by the homeowners.
● While in the letter reference above, the author states that “The real source of income” for the RAD will be homeowner assessments, I would remind you that while this statement was indeed made – it’s simply NOT TRUE. I’ve stated throughout the process that the primary (and only consistent) form of income for the RAD is in the Resort Service Fee, which will add more than half-a-million dollars towards servicing the currently MTA-type functions with zero increase in the cost of homeownership. This addition of funding is capable of supporting today’s infrastructure for the foreseeable future with no need whatsoever for special assessments.
● As a final note – no RAD funding can be used to finance a project or service for the direct profit-making benefit of any member or group of members. These are public service projects and services only.
● For more information on how the finances of the RAD are intended to work, please refer to the communication sent on May 13th. A link to this communication, can be found here: “Resort Area District revenue generating authorities”

§7-25-3. Definitions.
For purposes of this article:
     (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.
     (c) “Board” means a resort area board created pursuant to this article.

The ‘RAD’ cannot indebt your property pursuant to its assessed ‘tax-value’, rated @ 60% of your property’s estimated ‘fair-market value’ (retail) – but the RAD is interested in the EQUITY VALUE of your property for purposes of the ‘assessment fee’ for projects & expansion – in which there is no legal limit for the indebtedness that the RAD can establish!  No kidding, take a look:

§7-25-20. Indebtedness of resort area district.
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. No indebtedness of any nature of a resort area district shall constitute an indebtedness of any county creating and establishing such district or a charge against any property of said counties but shall be paid solely from the resort service fee or assessments which the resort area district is authorized to impose on the owners of the property within the district by this article. No indebtedness or obligation incurred by a resort area district shall give any right against any member of the governing body or any member of the board of a resort area district.

Property value pursuant to the ‘assessed value’ determined by the County Assessor = the amount of ‘property taxes’ paid to the county; but the ‘assessment value’ of the EQUITY of improved property (the amount between the ‘assessed value’ and the ‘fair-market value’, usually 40%, is the basis for the ‘assessment fee’ that will be monetized & collateralized as the basis for special obligation bonds and notes for whatever projects are determined to be paid for by the ‘assessment fee’!  Since the RAD cannot levy & collect ad valorem property taxes, SMI is simply asking for approval to indebt the RAD in the same manner as a local school board requests INDEBTEDNESS on every household whenever the local board of education wishes to raise taxes for their benefit at the expense of the public!

And just as the County Sheriff has the authority to collect ‘property taxes’ assessed by the County Assessor; so too does the Sheriff have the authority to enforce & collect the ‘assessment fee’ imposed by the RAD members of the Board!

§7-25-21. Payment of assessments to sheriff; report to resort area district; collection of delinquent assessments.
_____(a) The assessments authorized to be imposed pursuant to this article will not be considered to be ad valorem taxes or the equivalent of ad valorem taxes under any provision of this code: Provided, That for the exclusive purposes of collection of the assessments authorized to be imposed under this article and enforcement of the assessment liens created by section twenty-two of this article, the provisions of chapter eleven-a of this code shall apply as if the assessments were taxes as that term is defined in section one, article one of that chapter.
_____(b) The sheriff shall promptly deposit all assessments upon receipt thereof in a segregated account established by the sheriff for such purpose and shall maintain a record of the assessments so received. Each month, the sheriff shall pay all moneys collected for the resort area district into the district treasury or, if the sheriff consents, to a trustee for the benefit of bondholders if assessment bonds are issued by the resort area district.
_____(c) Payments to the resort area district shall be made in the time set forth in section fifteen, article one, chapter eleven-a of this code and the sheriff shall be entitled to take a commission for collection of the assessments on behalf of the resort area district, as provided in section seventeen of said article.
_____(d) For each tax year, the sheriff will prepare and deliver to the board of each resort area district located in the county, a statement setting forth the aggregate amount of assessments received for such district and the name of any property owner who failed to pay the assessments due and payable for the period in question. The report shall be due on or before August 1, of the following year.
_____(e) The sheriff is authorized to collect delinquent assessments and enforce the liens created in section twenty-two of this article as if those assessments were delinquent real property taxes and the taxes are tax liens using the enforcement tools provided in articles two and three, chapter eleven-a of this code.

RUMOR #2 >
Rumor : That Snowshoe has intentionally ‘stacked the deck’ to ensure permanent control of the Board of Directors.
Answer: False:

●This issue has been addressed several times in public, and only after having been extensively discussed amongst the RAD Organizing Committee. The law provides for 7 board members:  
● 2 Appointed by the Resort Operator (Snowshoe Mountain, Inc.) – The Resort Operator is a permanent, keystone, and full-time constituent dedicated to our community’s long-term success. The weight of the two positions here is indeed intentional given that the Resort Operator’s full-time focus is on the success of the Resort – that’s all we focus on, all the time.
3 Elected by the owners of improved property (homeowners) – The largest, by number, constituent of the Resort is the homeowner. As such, the largest number of seats are dedicated to this class of voter.
● 1 Elected by the owners of unimproved property (developers and owners of lots) – The ‘developers’ of any resort project have a tremendous impact on the future of that resort. They also have a unique perspective of the needs of that Resort. At this time, the amount of developable property is still huge within our Resort. I fully acknowledge, and always have, that Snowshoe currently holds enough of this property to control the voting for this seat. Any single entity that has such an impact upon the future of the Resort should indeed have the means to ensure that these interests are represented. It’s also important to realize that Snowshoe today is a mountain-resort operating company, not a real estate developer. While we will seek to partner together with developers who have projects that we believe will enhance the overall Resort experience (The Corduroy Inn for example), we’ve acknowledged that our wheelhouse is in operating great ski resorts, not home-building. Only time will tell who will own the majority of developable land at any given point in the future; but whomever that is, they need to have a seat at the table.
● 1 Elected by the owners of commercial property – Much like the developer perspective, the owners of stores and restaurants have a critical impact and unique perspective within the Resort, and for all the same reasons, they need a seat at the table. Again, Snowshoe currently owns 24 of the 45 commercial properties at the Resort and as such does control the voting for this seat at this time, but it only takes one sale of commercial assets by Snowshoe, or one significant additional commercial project to tip that balance. In fact, I fully expect (but cannot say for certain) that in the not-so-distant future, Snowshoe will go from majority owner to ‘super-minority’ owner, and that this seat will much more competitive. PLEASE remember that the RAD is intended to serve for decades to come, and in forming the law, we have to take the long-term future into consideration.
● So, while the board was in NO WAY formed to ensure that Snowshoe controls it, we know that for now we do….which brings us to the protections; both for property owners and for Snowshoe – which aren’t shared by the author of the letter or by those spreading the rumors:
● The support of 6 of 7 board members are required before a budget can be passed
● The support of 6 of 7 board members are required before a Resort Service Fee can be passed
● The support of 6 of 7 board members are required (in addition to passive support of 75% of those to be assessed and/or active support of 51% of the same ) before a special assessment can be levied
● The support of 6 of 7 board members are required (in addition to passive support of 75% of those to be assessed and/or active support of 51% of the same) before the RAD can borrow any money.
Yes – with this scenario Snowshoe could block any of the above-mention actions – AND the same is true for property owners – it’s balanced.

Compare to:
§7-25-5. Petition for creation or expansion of resort area district; petition requirements.
     (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.

Does not Donald Trump now control approximately 65% of SMI by ‘acreage’ – which is measured by ‘metes & bounds’ as compared to ‘square-feet’?  If 2500 homeowners owning an average of 2000 square-feet are combined together –  that’s 2500 owners x 2000 sq ft = 5,000,000 square feet divided by 43,560 sq ft for one (1) acre = 114.7842 acres about 115 acres compared to Trump’s ownership of 11,000+ acres & then some!

RUMOR #3 >
Rumor : That a Resort Area District Ranger program has been proposed / That it will be a ‘corporate police force’.
: The concept of a possible Ranger program is indeed part of the RAD proposal. With that said, the author of the above-mentioned letter mentioned so-badly misconstrues the intent of the Ranger program in hopes of scaring the reader into believing that Snowshoe hopes to become Boss-Hog within the community (complete with our own Sherriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) that the inflammatory portrayal of the concept would be humorous if it weren’t meant to destroy such an important undertaking. Here is the truth. As with all of the statements being made in all of my communications on the RAD, this truth can be verified by anyone who sat on the organizing committee.
● Our community, given it’s extremely rural nature, can be at any given time more than an hour away from certified law-enforcement response.
●Despite years of effort, we have been unable to convince the County to enhance law-enforcement consistently within our area.
● Our public safety officers (armed private security) have on several occasions placed themselves directly in harm’s way to save lives and property, but they are not law-enforcement officers, and neither they nor Snowshoe have the legal and liability protections afforded to a government supported law enforcement force.
● When you’re not here in the spring, summer, or fall – they are, and they’re patrolling your properties with very little back-up available in the case of trouble.
● The concept of District Rangers already exists for a similar purpose at the Hatfield-McCoy Recreational Area.
The Ranger Program – if instituted – would be offered the same liability protections that are afforded any public law-enforcement agency; which is not the case today.
● While supported by many, the Ranger program is only one option. The additional funds brought in by the resort service fees could be used to contract additional County, or more likely State Police presence here at the Mountain.
● I fully expect that many owners will have an opinion on how to best address the need for additional law-enforcement on the Mountain. That is the very basic beauty of the RAD – you the homeowner will get to choose board members who will take on this issue and find solutions.

Compare to:
§7-25-23. Resort Area Rangers.
_____(a) A board is hereby authorized to appoint bona fide residents of this state to act as resort area rangers within its respective resort area district upon any premises which are part of said district, subject to the conditions and restrictions imposed by this section.
_____(b) Before performing the duties of ranger, each appointed person shall qualify for the position of ranger in the same manner as is required of county officers by the taking and filing of an oath of office as required by section three, article one, chapter six of this code and by posting an official bond as required by section one, article two, chapter six of this code. To facilitate the performance of the duties of a ranger, a ranger may carry a firearm or other dangerous weapon while the ranger is on duty.
_____(c) It is the duty of any person appointed and qualified as a ranger hereunder to preserve law and order on any premises which are part of a resort area district and immediately adjacent public lands. For this purpose, the ranger shall be considered to be a law-enforcement officer in accordance with the provisions of section one, article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code and, as to offenses committed within those areas, have and may exercise all the powers and authority and are subject to all the requirements and responsibilities of a law-enforcement officer. The assignment of rangers to the duties authorized by this section may not supersede in any way the authority or duty of other peace officers to preserve law and order on those premises.
_____(d) The salary of all rangers shall be paid by the board. The board shall furnish each ranger with an official uniform to be worn while on duty and shall furnish and require each ranger while on duty to wear a shield with an appropriate inscription and to carry credentials certifying the person's identity and authority as a ranger.
_____(e) The board at its pleasure may revoke the authority of any ranger. The chairman of the board shall report the termination of employment of a ranger by filing a notice to that effect in the office of the clerk of the county in which the ranger's oath of office was filed and in the case of a ranger licensed to carry a firearm or other dangerous weapon, by notifying the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the license for the firearm or other dangerous weapon was granted.

Now as many may already know, the proposed Snowshoe-RAD would rather the taxpayers of Pocahontas County pay the ‘liability insurance’ of all ‘Snowshoe Rangers’ since that has been the issue all along regarding having publicly-funded deputy county sheriffs and/or publicly-funded state troopers patrol the ‘private-property’ of SMI!  As a direct & proximate result, SMI has had to have its own private-security, paid for by SMI, since public-officials, as are deputy sheriffs & state troopers, are not authorized to patrol ‘private-property’!  BUT since a RAD is now considered a political subdivision, all ‘Snowshoe Rangers’ will have to undergo the same training as if becoming a deputy county sheriff or a state trooper! 

§7-25-7. Creation of resort area district; resort area district to be a public corporation and political subdivision.
     (a) Each resort area district shall be created by adoption of an order by the governing body.
     (b) From and after the date of the adoption of the order creating a resort area district, it shall thereafter be a public corporation and political subdivision of the state, but without any power to levy or collect ad valorem taxes.

RUMOR #4 >
Issue : That the RAD, once created, can never be undone.
: Complicated, but with solutions available. It is true, that much like many other public corporations, there are no mechanisms placed in the legislation to dissolve a Resort Area District. If indeed the members of the RAD for an unforeseen reason down the road deemed the RAD to no longer be a benefit, there are no means by which it can be terminated. As mentioned, this is true with several types of public corporations within the State. With that said, and while admittedly not as clean, there are several options available that would protect the members from suffering unwanted provision of services or assessment of fees by the RAD.
● By the very nature of the RAD, it starts from nothing and only operates on what it generates. If the Board were to eliminate the Resort Service Fee and terminate all services, it would essentially become defunct. The simplest truth is that owners could elect three board members committed to defunding the operating budget beyond existing commitments. (Due to the protections set up to protect each class of membership, the threat of gridlock is more real than any threat that one class could bully around another)
● Through the by-laws, or possibly even through amendment of the petition, a petition and voting process can be devised that would allow members to force a wind-down of the RAD. In such a case (as in dissolution), the RAD would be required to serve out any existing contractual obligations, but the board could be mandated to cease any operations beyond these; at which time the Board would be focused on either addressing the concerns raised and rebuilding support, or it would remain defunct and having no further impact on the members.
If all else failed, members of the RAD could petition the courts to dissolve the RAD. It’s been done with other public corporations and could be done here.

Another method for dissolving municipal corporations, such as Durbin for example, is that State Law allows municipal corporations to dissolve themselves via several means such as not having a sufficient number of persons voting in any given election for mayor & town council, etc., or via simply voting on a referendum for dissolution, etc.  But since the ‘Snowshoe-RAD’ is a private corporation being considered a ‘public corporation and political subdivision of the state – but without any power to levy or collect ad valorem taxes’; once SRAD enters into a contractual project & projects, etc., it cannot dissolve until all the projects are completed – and since there is no limit as to the amount of DEBT that can be established, the primary method for expansion is via the ‘assessment fee’ imposed on improved-property-equity under the authority of the County Sheriff to enforce and lien pursuant to the new law establishing a RAD!

RUMOR #5 >
LAST, BUT IMPORTANT WORDS: In the public notice that you received in the mail, it is stated that you are not required to take action. This is true; however your action or inaction do impact the process. You are also offered the opportunity to support or protest the RAD, even in advance of the public hearings.
A submittal of protest on the counts toward a tally of opposition – if 25% of owners protest, the RAD concept dies in the Courthouse.
Once you cast a protest notice, it is final unless later rescinded in writing.
A submittal of support is symbolic – there are no quotas for support, but by casting a support notice, you let the Commissioners know that there is support for the idea in the community.

Compare to:
 §7-25-5. Petition for creation or expansion of resort area district; petition requirements.
     (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.

This is the BIG QUESTION, isn’t it?  Who are the property-owners BY ACREAGE that can comprise the ‘super-majority’ of SIX of SEVEN board members – when on the face of the record Donald Trump’s total ownership can easily ‘trump’ all other owners – bar none!  By definition, when government and private-corporations merge – it’s CORPORATE FASCISM!  Welcome to the ‘New World Order’ where less than 1% of the total population owns over 90% of everything – that’s means a few at the top, everyone else at the bottom fighting over scraps, and a handful in between!


On 04 NOVEMBER…there’s no excuse…

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!

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