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RA Discussing $300K+ in Additional Staffing Needs for 2017

by Karen Goff — October 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm 25 Comments

RA RRRF 2017 chartReston Association is seeking to add back in 2017 more than $335,000 in staffing positions that were put on hold as the association paid back the Lake House overrun this year.

The Reston Association will discuss this and other needs for the 2017 budget at a special meeting Wednesday at RA, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. and will include a member comment period.

RA is seeking to hire a land use assistant ($98,000 annual salary) and a geenral ledger accountant ($82,000); promote someone to capital projects administration coordinator ($36,000); and hire many seasonal employees ($181,000).

It also wants to promote a staff member to capital projects administrative manager ($84,000) and give current employees a total of $233,000 in merit raises, according to RA documents.

RA is estimating it will need $14.7 for the 2017 budget. The RA Fiscal Committee is recommending the Reserve, Repair and Replacement fund receive $2.9 million in funding, even though RA Treasurer Dannielle LaRosa recently pointed out the balance in the RRRF account has grown to more than $6 million in the last year. Meanwhile, RA has been spending just about $2 million annually on RRRF projects.

The RRRF is funded with a combination of assessment money, surplus cash and investment income. It must maintain a balance of $3.1 million, according to RA bylaws.

The board has the option to accept the fiscal committees recommendation or fund the RRRF at a lower amount.

Funding the RRRF with various sources will increase assessments in a variety of ways (see accompanying chart).

RA assessments were $657 per household in 2016. That amount was offset by an extra $1 million moved from operating fund reserves. RA members have been getting a service level as if they paid $705 in 2016, La Rosa said at RA’s September meeting.

RA assessments could top the $700 mark — which would be a $70 increase since since 2014 — depending on what the directors keep as budget needs.

See more information about budget needs on the meeting agenda.

Chart: RA

  • RunDMC

    There is really no comment to be made on this, because every single one of us is thinking the *exact* same thing.

    • One Really

      That what is the 14.7????

    • Greg

      Madness. Shocking.

    • Jenny Gibbers

      I never hyperventilate so hard, saved me a trip to the gym. Thanks RA

  • cRAzy

    I sure haven’t been ” getting a service level as if they paid $705 in 2016″ no matter what LaRosa says. In fact, she is quite out to lunch on the budget proposing the addition of more than $4MM to the RRRF, not the $2.9MM called for by the Finance Committee.

    FYI: The RRRF balance is now at about $6MM, not $7MM, as LaRosa says, and about a million of that will be spent before the end of the year on budgeted projects.

    How much more of this BS do we have to put up with?

    • RestonGrandma

      I really don’t understand what “getting a service level as if they paid $705 in 2016” means. That sounds like complete nonsense. It sounds like the RA has been doing us a favor by doing more than we deserve or have paid for. What would have been different if we had paid $705? We are tired of this BS!!!

      • cRAzy

        The only thing different is you would have about $50 LESS to spend on something much more useful.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Bingo!

  • Dodge

    I think the RA should have a few more lean years after the last years spending. Not ready to forgive those mistakes yet.

  • Ming the Merciless

    So “pay back the Tetra overrun” doesn’t actually mean pay it back, it means “defer some of the overrun to next year”.

    We don’t need a new “general ledger accountant” to tell us that Cate Fulkerson’s accounting methods are slimy and dishonest.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Yeah, you know. It’s a similar accounting trick that The Donald used to defer almost a trillion dollars in income.

    • John Higgins

      So we are all reading the same script, please accept my attempt to clarify. There is no “pay back” or “deferral” of overrun. The attempt to simplify the situation perhaps leads to misunderstanding.

      At one point, the cost of renovating Lake House was some $430,000 more than planned. To meet those costs, RA deferred some authorized 2016 spending, diverting the money to Lake House. Most of it was for staff that would have been hired. So, they deferred filling the positions and used the money for the renovations. Now comes 2017. Those positions are already in the approved 2017 budget, so there is nothing being added. Rather, they are explaining why 2017 spending is so much larger than 2016 spending.

      It is fair to question the need for the new positions, questions that should have been squarely addressed when the positions were added in the 2016 budget. Discussion here is useful, but if people feel strongly one way or the other, the route is to write to their directors (district and at-large) or speak at this week’s special meeting. Otherwise, we are just clucking.

      • cRAzy

        Actually, RA wouldn’t have been hiring people for Tetra BECAUSE RA thought it had leased Tetra back to, well, Tetra for the whole year for $100,000.

        But they screwed that up too.

        Cluck, cluck.

      • 30yearsinreston

        The directors dont take notice

      • Ming the Merciless

        RA said they had “found variances” to cover the Tetra overruns. Then they assured us everything was fine and we didn’t lose any money (except we did because saving money is something you are always supposed to do anyway, and can never compensate for stupidly wasting money). But now we see that those “variances” did not actually exist because the money we “saved” is being spent anyway. In short, when Fulkerson said she had “covered the overrun”, this was A LIE. No doubt she fully intended all along to have the “saved” money restored to the budget the following year.

        You say “There is no “pay back” or “deferral” of overrun.” Then you say “they deferred filling the positions and used the money for the renovations.” So yes they were deferring the overrun. Your own words clearly say so. You have clarified the matter perfectly!

        “there is nothing being added.”

        YES THERE IS.

        RA told us they had subtracted money from the budget to cover the Tetra overrun. Now they are putting that money back in. THAT IS ADDING MONEY. If you add positions, then take them out on a spurious pretext, and put them back in again, then you have ADDED positions and ADDED a spending requirement.

        Thanks for clarifying that Tetra is still the gift that keeps on taking!

        • John Higgins

          I thoroughly enjoy your writing style, it is quite a relief from much of the prose found here.

          I could have been clearer. The 2016 budget was $X. That $X included paying for new staff (at a cost of $Y) Tetra had an overrun of $Z. By not filling the positions in 2016, RA’s total costs became $X-$Y+$Z. So, yes, there were savings to RA and it happens (by design, not chance) that $Y=$Z. The RA’s spending is no greater than it would have been if there were no overrun and the positions had been filled.

          Because those positions were planned to be added in 2016, there was built into the 2017 budget money to pay them. If they fill the positions in 2017 (and I pray it is still an “if”), the RA 2017 budget, as approved at the end of 2015, is unchanged. The cost of these positions is not being added back because it was never deducted from the 2017 budget.

          • cRAzy

            I repeat: RA did NOT plan to add positions in 2016 in its 2016 budget because it thought the damn building would be rented by Tetra for the whole year. They added the positions (and staff) in their mid-year budget amendment that covered the $430K cost overrun.

            There should be no staff people working at Tetra until 2017 according to the RA budget for 2016 approved in late 2015.

          • JoeInReston

            I think you are presuming that the staffubg positions that they didn’t fund in 2016 and plan to fund in 2017 are Tetra oriented positions. I don’t believe that is the case.

    • Ann Youngren

      What on earth are they thinking?? Even I could not have dreamed this one up.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    BOHICA.

  • 30yearsinreston

    We are getting a service level as if we gave $200
    The rest is wasted on useless admin staff and friperies like the glossy magazine that litters our bins

  • David

    $143 more on a base of $657 is 21.7% increase. Inflation has been 1.1% over the last 12 months (Aug 2015 to Aug 2016). An increase of $89 instead of $143 is NOT an “assessment reduction” as labeled in the table. If there was a reduction, the new number would LESS than last year. That is kind of what reduction means.

    • 30yearsinreston

      RA never could do.math when other people’s money is spent

      The Lake White Elephant needs to be fed

  • Greendayer

    . . . and why are the people still around who made such a stupid and costly decision? If the RA was an efficient entity, the perps would have been gone for losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet, the comedy/tragedy continues.

    • JoeInReston

      One reason may be because the information on the Tetra overrun wasn’t released until right after the most recent elections. The assessment increases that will be necessary to cover the short falls have not gone into effect yet.

      In other words, than fan hasn’t been placed into the room where the filth resides, so the filth hasn’t hit the fan yet.

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