RA: Pro-Rated Assessments Would Need Referendum

Reston Association 50Reston Association has been considering making some changes to what a small number of homeowners pay in annual assessments. But one change that will not be coming soon is pro-rated amounts that vary according to property value (in the same manner as property tax).

RA CEO Cate Fulkerson says the current structure — where the vast majority of members pay a flat annual assessment (slated to be $642 in 2015) that goes toward paths, pools, parks and recreational programs, among other amenities — is written into the deed. Changing it to a pro-rated amount would require a member referendum.

“The board can’t act independently on how assessments are determined,” says Fulkerson.

Meanwhile, at its next meeting on Nov. 20, the RA Board of Directors will consider setting a 50-percent assessment rate reduction for members who receive real estate tax relief from Fairfax County. Comments from members are welcome at the public hearing portion of the meeting.

This action was discussed at the board planning meeting earlier this week. Many members of citizen advocacy group Reston 2020 attended the planning meeting to voice their concerns.

RA says reductions in annual assessment fees for residents who qualify for real estate tax relief have always existed within RA, says Fulkerson. However, no specific percentage rate for those reductions is stated in the Reston Deed, even though those reductions have been around 50 percent in recent years.

RA says about 450 out of the 17,000 residential units in Reston are projected to receive county tax relief in 2015 and would qualify for the 50 percent reduction.

RA is also allows assessments of 0.5 percent of property value (instead of the flat rate) for homes with values of less than $128,000. That is about 120 units in Reston, says RA.

Residents that live in state- or federally subsidized housing units or elderly housing or assisted living are also given a $10 break on assessments.

RA expects to collect more than $13 million in assessments in 2015. Total estimated revenue for the year comes in at more than $16 million, according to RA, with $5.4 million spent on management and headquarters costs; $2.7 million spent on recreation services; and $2.1 million spent on park maintenance.

While the increase from 2014 to 2015 is only $8, the rate rose 7.45 percent from 2013 to 214, and has risen by $127 annually in the last five years.

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