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RA Wants to Hear Residents’ Ideas for 2018-19 Budget

by RestonNow.com — May 3, 2017 at 10:15 am 21 Comments

As Reston Association board members prepare to draw up the budget for FY2018-19, they are seeking input from community members.

Budget has been a hot topic around Reston lately, particularly after last year’s controversial overrun of the budget for projects like the Lake House, and after pool schedules for this year came out and had cuts in them that upset many residents, considering that RA annual assessment dues went up $35 for 2017.

RA CEO Cate Fulkerson spoke last month at the association’s annual member meeting, expressing a commitment to more transparency and efficiency.

Fulkerson also announced a series of “listening meetings” in each of Reston’s districts to hear feedback on RA operations directly from residents, specifically timed to occur before FY2018’s and FY2019’s capital and operating budgets are finalized.

Those meetings are expected to take place over May and June. The budget is expected to be adopted in the fall.

In addition to the listening meetings, the RA has recently been distributing feedback forms that residents can print out and submit, or email to staff.

The forms ask for residents’ ideas and suggestions for new projects or services that would be beneficial to members, services or facilities that need improving upon, and the like.

“Perhaps you have a suggestion or an idea about improving association services or adding new services,” the request for feedback reads. “You are welcome to submit any and all ideas about Reston Association’s services, facilities, operations and programs.”

For those who have ideas on new projects or services, or existing ones that might need more funding, the RA asks them to describe their idea in as much detail as possible, including as many specifics like location, cost or potential savings as they can.

The RA promises to “prioritize” constructive suggestions during budget talks.

“The Board of Directors will carefully consider all suggestions received, in light of available financial resources, and will prioritize these suggestions for possible inclusion in the upcoming budget.”

Click here to download the feedback submission form from RA’s website.

It can then be mailed or dropped off at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.), or can be sent by email to [email protected]

Submissions must be received no later than June 30.

 

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  • CE

    Here’s an idea, cut the budget for salary in half. The total compensation for the board and staff is ridiculous. GREED

    • Donald

      I don’t believe the Board is compensated in any way. It’s a community volunteer position.

      Donald

      • Scout

        the staff budget

  • Mike M

    1) Add no new services.
    2) Decide what can be cut.
    3) Challenge yourselves to squeeze out efficiencies.

    • Jenny Gibbers

      4) asking big and frivolous spenders to step down
      5) salary review by industry standard

  • SuperCoop1280

    Yeah, that’s a swell idea, let’s add more services to drive up our annual dues and then not be able to use said service due to a glitch, RA staff incompetence, or both.

    The Board really needs to evaluate the “leadership” of Fulkerson and send her packing. She is wrong for the job and wrong for Reston! Compensation packages for RA staff need to be redone as they are outrageously generous. We need to cancel the printing of the RA magazine, as reading it online is fine.

    Board leadership is lacking. I hope some of the newer members step up and not be afraid to ask the tough questions.

  • cRAzy

    1. Don’t propose ANY new capital projects and postpone all current ones indefinitely, except those where critical maintenance is required. Accordingly, get rid of the Capital Projects Department.
    2. Reduce RA fulltime staff by 10%, not necessarily in each department.
    3. Do NOT increase anyone’s salary and look at opportunities to roll back some. Goal: Reduce employee expenditures by15%-20%.
    4. Fire the attorneys–Chadwick and McBride. Hire an in-house attorney to handle all routine legal work.
    5. Don’t offer ANY programs that do not pay for themselves at the operational level, including after school care at Lake House.
    6. Don’t duplicate RCC programming (and the same goes for them).
    7. Reduce assessment fees by at least 10%–if you do the above, that should be easy.

    • drip

      I’ve always thought that RA would actually cut its legal fees in half without sacrificing anything (ie debt collection, advice, contracts, employment issues, land, etc) if they got rid of Chadwick and hired an in-house counsel with a modest staff. The in-house counsel could be a local attorney on salary between $80k-$100k, with a small staff or potentially part-time staff totaling less than $100k in salary to handle debt collection and other office and paralegal functions. They can then use RA’s IT resources and incur some additional costs of less than $20k for legal programs/software/licensing. Significant litigation could be outsourced to someone (perhaps another local attorney) in an of-counsel role. Overall, this would cost RA about $200k to handle the same legal matters as Chadwick, who charges two or three times that amount.

      • LeftPolitico

        I agree. Chadwick is not only exceedingly costly but has given terrible legal advice in the past. Their “advice” has been a major contributor to the distrust that Restonians have for RA.

  • 40yearsinreston

    Fire the Project manager Director to start
    We don’t need a supervisor of 2 staff and a ‘liason’ to the Board
    Next, drop every staff members title two levels. Flatten the org chart

  • guest

    I recently wrote the Board to ask that they transfer funds to reopen the pools this summer. Even the busiest pools have been drastically cut. (One pool averages 19,000 visits in three months by RA’s own figures.) I realize not everyone swims, but that’s a lot of use. I understand they can transfer funds in the middle of the year and suggested they take it from the tens of thousands of dollars they are spending on manicuring VDOT owned road strips. This is not just a few extra mowings, but edging, spraying, and sweeping. How many members really want RA to do this when it cuts member services? Another good option is the funds for a new capital projects director — In spite of the fact that no one trusts RA to do any new projects right now.
    The answer I received was that they would look at the pool schedule next year.
    So much for being responsive. It seems the pools will remain closed this year. This would have gone a long way to calm the unrest in the community and show at least they are a little responsive. And now they want us to jump through more hoops filling out forms and attending “listening” meetings, when they are not even listening now.

    • Waterlogged

      The answer you received from the board/RA is funny because, its the exact same answer I received when I contacted them about reduced pool hours last year. This year its even worse. Maybe aquatics needs an overhaul as well.

      I just don’t get it. I have lived in Reston for 46 years, never been this bad. My suggestion for 2018, trim the fat … any and all.

      • soren

        Wow. The same exact thing happened to me last year. The same exact thing.

  • guest

    If 200 members fill out forms stating they do not want RA to do any new projects and do not want a capital projects department. And 2 members, not knowing the history, blindly suggest two projects. Does this mean RA will give the Board only the two forms requesting new projects and throw out the other 200 forms? Leaving the Board unaware of the overwhelming number of members who object?

    • Tammi Petrine

      I’m guessing this new board is going to hear, see and act differently. Having district meetings would be a start. Thanks to new RA BOD for pushing that.

      • Jenny Gibbers

        Basically all the reporters here need to fill out a form because Cate is not going to do a screen scrape.

        So download and fill out the form! Keep a photocopy for future reference and/or post it to a public forum so we can scope and assess public discontent ourselves. There are 18000 households. My guess, many of us are only concerned about paid parking not much else.

        Stop the madness now.

  • Amy Sue

    ANyone know where I can get a detailed RA budgets for the past two years? I can never find them on the website.

  • Restonian, but not that one…

    Raffle off Tetra, oops, the Lake House. It’s a money pit. Giving it away, even at a loss, would be progress since it would limit our losses.

  • Greg

    FIRE Cate Fulkerson and cut the budget immediately by her compensation of $250k.

    The fire the director of covenants administration. Then fire the director of project management. Save at least another $200k.

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