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Reston Association Board Proposes $698 Assessments for 2017

by Karen Goff — October 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm 14 Comments

Reston AssociationThe Reston Association Board of Directors is considering member assessments of $698 for 2017. That’s an increase of $41 from 2016.

However, that is not necessarily the amount the board will agree on later this year. The amount cannot be higher, and in fact, may be lower. RA will hold public budget meetings on Nov. 7 and 17, where members are encouraged to speak out.

The board will set the 2017 budget at the Nov. 17 meeting.

The 2016 assessments could have been more than $700. However, the board found a $1 million surplus in operating fund reserves, which kept the annual bill lower.

At a special RA meeting on Wednesday, the board discussed putting less than the recommended $2.9 million in the Reserve, Repair and Replacement Fund this year.

While the balance in the RRRF is above $6 million, that is because only a small number of projects have been recently completed. The projects, particularly repairs to the Lake Anne Dam, will need to happen soon, and RA needs the full amount of money in RRRF, the board decided.

The board opted to fund the RRRF by choosing to use money from both assessment revenues ($2.3 million) and surplus operating cash $550,000.

Overall, RA says it need $14.7 million to fully fund the community’s and the association’s needs in 2017. RA says it needs more than $300,000 for staff raises and new staff positions that were on hold while it dealt with the overrun for the Tetra/Lake House property in 2016.

Because the board has identified capital projects procedures as an area that needs to be improved, a proposal to form a Capital Department was presented Thursday, with various options for staffing and internal promotions. The board approved the request to hire a Capital Department director.

CEO Cate Fulkerson also said two current RA employees would be reassigned to the new department, which will be charged with ensuring projects are done on time and within budget.

The board heard from a few members during the public comment session Wednesday.

“From what I have read and understood, I think you are looking a budget that is incredibly out of synch with RA members and an assessment increase that is incredibly out of synch with RA members,” said resident James Dean.

“This budget does not reflect you hearing from us about the mismanagement of Tetra, the Pony Barn, etc. You need to go back to the drawing board and take the budget line by line and look at what it appropriate for RA to be doing.”

In the case of the Tetra building — which RA purchased for $2.6 million in 2015 — a $430,000 cost overrun to renovate the property was discovered earlier this year. An independent audit on what went wrong is expected to be completed by December.

The Pony Barn began as a $35,000 project to upgrade an aging picnic pavilion in south Reston. In the end, the board approved a full renovation of the property that is expected to cost $350,000. The project is currently on hold until after the Tetra review is completed.

Read more about the budget process on RA’s website.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Capital department Director ? For 2 employees ?
    They sure know how to inflate salaries
    As for Lake Anne Dam – how about a special assessment for Lake side property owners
    Nobody else but they can use it so they should pay for it I’m sure it can be convered by the increased property values

  • Nyla J.

    If I promise never to walk on another path, play tennis or use a pool can I please opt out of this dumb HOA?

    Based on my use of amenities, it costs me approximately $175.00 each time I go to the pool.

    • tired of the increases

      Actually your cluster can vote to leave the association. I know of a few people looking at that process. They are thinking of trying to get their clusters to understand what they are paying and how, if they leave, they could save money. They would still use the trails and the people who want a pool membership can buy one. For tennis it’s not like someone is there checking for association cards.

      • May

        Do you have a citation/clause or specific basis permitting a cluster to leave RA? If there is a cluster opt out clause, I will work to get an opt out vote scheduled for my clusters annual meeting next year.

      • John Higgins

        Note that clusters are not members of RA, only individual lot owner/residents. It is clear that residents can agree to disband their cluster association, but I’d be interested in hearing the theory that a member can undo this element of their property deed.

  • Tired of the increases

    Why do they have to get pay increases? There are many people who don’t get a pay increase every year. We don’t need the new positions. We probably could cut positions and save more money. I think I will run for the next opening in my area. We should just sell the tetra building and eat the loss. The loss will be less than the long term costs to this thing.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Certainly they shouldn’t get more than 3%, which is the national average in 2016. Based on their shoddy performance this year, I’d say 2% was more appropriate.

      • Appreciative Resident

        I am not a fan of RA as a whole but the poor employees who have to deal with all the insane Reston residents deserve every penny they earn. Major decisions are regularly baffeling but I have never had a bad experience with RA staff. I find they usually go above and beyond. 99% of the folks that work for RA are not responsible for decisions like the Lake House and, in fact, many of the employees go out of their way to help home owners navigate the board’s (and DRB’s) insanity in order to help find logical results.

        • John Higgins

          agree. Thanks for your reminder.

  • Rational Reston

    The RA BoD must have gone home very happy that they snuck the increase in to keep the assessment just under the $700 line.

    Look for $730+ next year.

  • Jenny Gibbers

    Why not 699.95 or 699.99 for an even number?

  • Greendayer

    So maybe in lieu of raises, Association management can get free use of the Tetra building for a few hours.

    • Ginuwine

      or a free night at the freshly renovated pony barn.

  • Ed Cacciapaglia

    Like a typical board run amok, they seem mislabel “wants” as “needs”. Bearing in mind that social security recipients (and I assume other federal retirees) are only a 0.3% increase this year, this 6.24% proposed increase seems excessive. I have lived in Reston since 2000 and for a most years the dues increases have exceeded the cost of living increases. Here’s the history of the RA fees and percentage increase by year dating back to FY2000:
    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 4.42%
    2014 $634.00 7.46%
    2015 $657.00 3.63%
    2016 $698.00 4.72% (proposed)

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