.

RA Assessments to Rise to $590 in 2013

Reston Association Board votes for lowest option but faces unknown expenses.

The Reston Association Board of Directors voted on Thursday to a $25 rise from 2012's $565 payment.

The amount — the same as the number approved in the biennial budget in 2011 — is the lowest of the three options the board discussed. The board could have voted on an assessment of $595 or $600.

Additionally, the board voted to set assessments at $580 for federally/state subsidized units and $260 for households that get Fairfax County tax relief.

RA CEO Milton Matthews, who is not a voting member of the board, advocated to set the amount at $595.

"We are going to be stretched at $590," he said prior to the vote, pointing out an expected $100,000 deficit from this year's expenses. "It is going to be tough. There is not a lot of leeway in our budget. We have expenses in a community that is changing and growing. We are starting to focus on our infrastructure. Our amenities are part of the quality of life in this community."

Matthews also pointed out nearly $250,000 in unplanned expenses expected in 2013. Among them:

* $15,000 in dollars lost from more property owners qualifying for Fairfax County Tax Relief (406 households in 2012)

* $48,000 in lost assessments from the demolition of 82 units at Parc Reston; $25,000 in additional legal fees for special counsel for RA's role in the rezoning issue for Reston National Golf Course

* $50,000 for an expected contribution to South Lakes High School for a synthetic turf athletic field (down from a projected $100,000 earlier this year)

* An expected $20,000 contribution to a community-wide effort to produce a documentary about Reston for its 50th anniversary in 2014

* The hiring of a part-time community planner position ($40,000); and an additional $50,000 for "additional legal expenses for billing and collection and general services."

Hunters Woods/Dogwood director Cheryl Beamer suggested raising assessments as high as $600. She reasoned that with additional money, Reston Association could do the things it needs to do externally (funding special projects) and internally (giving staff meaningful raises) without constant self scrutiny.

"We have done too little to fund what we need to do as an organization," she said. 

South Lakes Director Richard Chew and Apartment Owners' Director Amanda Andere both said that an important part of the budgeting process should be to take a hard look at priorities.

"We have some idea what we need," said Chew. "We have aging assets. We don't know if Reston National will be resolved in January or will take up three years of litigation. "

Only one citizen used the public comment section to speak to the board. The resident of Sagewood Lane encouraged the board to find creative solutions other than consistently raising assessments.

"Eighty-two units are gone at Parc Reston," she said. "We are going to see more and more of this kind of thing. Isn't there some sort of tax the developers can pay? They are making big bucks. Those of us who are retired are not making big bucks."

 

RA ASSESSMENTS SINCE 2000

Year    Amount    % +/-    
2000    $370.00        
2001    $375.00    1.35%    
2002    $387.00    3.20%    
2003    $399.00    3.10%    
2004    $415.00    4.01%    
2005    $425.00    2.41%    
2006    $437.00    2.82%    
2007    $437.00    0.00%    
2008    $475.00    8.70%    
2009    $491.00    3.37%    
2010    $515.00    4.89%    
2011    $540.00    4.85%

2012    $565.00    4.50%

2013     $590.00   4.50% 

(Source: Reston Association)

 

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John Farrell December 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM
And what recreational proffers did you get from those projects for RA to help build the indoor tennis courts and indoor 50m pool that some RA members want so intently? Nothing
John Farrell December 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM
The County owns the roads. It's up to them to light the roads. If Reston was a city, we could do it ourselves.
Skip Endale December 01, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Thanks for the comment, that confirms I am at least 50% correct. If you check around the average cost of a health club monthly fees, swim and tennis are around $150 per month. So say over a period of 6 months you would be paying $900; even more if you have a family. Agree, not everyone swims and not everyone plays tennis, but there are other options - walking the trails, going to the community centre, and providing options for youth to participate in community events. That is a small price to pay and its worth every cent. Not increasing the fees could translate into programs being cut, people fired, or wage reductions. While the rest of the area lives high off the hog on government jobs and contracts why would RA have to trim their workforce and limit their pay? And how about all othe other benefits? The five percent increase is tough on some citizens but most others can choose to skip Starbucks for a month or cook at home instead of going to Clydes. Either way I'll buy you a beer at the bar if that calms you down.
Skip Endale December 01, 2012 at 03:24 PM
I would rather they keep the grass on the football fields to keep the planet cool. Perhaps spend the $50,000 on a green house and show the kids how to plant and grow their own food. Either way, the fifty thou is well spent if it keeps the kids out of trouble.
Mike Collins December 01, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Jim - The current governing documents, as approved by voters in 2006, allow for automatic increases of the greater of 4.5% or the Employers Cost Index from a base rate of $461. So the current maximum assessment is $627, but we set it at $590 based on actual costs, not some automatic formula. Salary increases are merit-based only and are capped at 2% and HR is only about half the overall budget. People are not pushing the rates higher, it's the cost of running programs and maintaining aging infrastructure and equipment. The entire budget is online at www.reston.org. If anyone has suggestions about what to cut, please let us know.

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