RA Budget Decision: Borrow For Lower Assessments or Ask Residents to Pay More

Reston AssociationReston Association’s Board of Directors will vote Nov. 21 on the budget for 2014 and ’15. To get ready for the annual look at the community’s wants and needs – and how to pay for them – the board is considering taking out a loan of up to $2.5 million to help offset expenses and keep member annual assessments from climbing.

Without a loan, assessments could climb close to $650 the next two years.

There are three options RA is considering:

Option 1: assessments would be $646 in 2014 and $647 in 2015 but no extra dollars would be provided for budget initiatives.

Option 2: considers a $2 million loan. Assessments, which were $590 in 2013, would be $615 in 2014 and $635 in 2015, thereby providing $1,045,843 in additional funds for new budget initiatives.

Option 3: considers a loan of $2.5 million, which would provide $1.5 million in additional funds for new budget initiatives. Assessments would be $615 in 2014 and $635 in 2015.

Both loans would include a $5,000 origination fee and 4.5 percent fixed-rate interest. RA would draw on part of it and put the rest in the reserve and replacement fund, according to the documents.

“Going into debt is never anyone’s first choice, whether for personal or business reasons,” says RA president Ken Knueven. “However, often a loan is either the only choice or the one that makes the most sense, both in the short and long term. … Our objective is to minimize impact to assessments while focusing on big project items like potential dam expenditures.”

The budget draft proposal points out that RA will have 82 fewer households in 2014 and ’15 as a result of the redevelopment at Parc Reston.

Some of the requests from RA directors and members for the upcoming budget include:

  • $14,383 to replace parking lightbulbs with LED fixtures
  • $43,000 in 2015 for an additional community garden at Cedar Ridge
  • About $60,000 to add a park ranger position
  • $35,000 for staff professional development and tuition reimbursement
  • $160,000 for Document Management Solution software

However, RA recently asked  members of the community to give them suggestions on where the money should be spent. Here are some of the examples:

  • Buy Reston National Golf Course to ensure Reston has a public golf course
  • Don’t spend any more than has already been budgeted. The economy is still in a tailspin. Members would appreciate maintaining the current assessment rate — or a lower one
  • The number one focus of the budget should be to lower assessments on RA members. If you want the community to actively support the RA, show us you are actually looking out for our money. If the budget does not reflect that change the board of directors will have failed the community.
  • Reston Association needs to learn to live within the budget it has without raising dues every year, we do not vote on the budget and the residents are not even made aware of the dues until we get our bills.
  • Add a drinking fountain at the North Shore Tennis Courts.
  • I’d like to see more money allocated to grooming. I think that our “wilderness” policy has gotten out of hand, the trail entrances can be foreboding and we have a chronic litter problem.

RA will be holding a special budget session at 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2 at RA headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr. The meeting is open to the public.

More info on RA’s website:

Full list of suggestions 

Latest staff report on the budget

Additional documents related to budget

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