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$1.8 Million Renovation of Reston Association Pools Up for Discussion in Budget

by RestonNow.com — October 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 59 Comments

Major upgrades to swimming pools are proposed in the budget that is under discussion by the Reston Association Board of Directors.

Expenses for work on the RA pool facilities included in the proposed 2018-2019 Capital Projects List total: $362,378 for swimming pools and $287,639 pool buildings in 2018; and $972,209 for swimming pools and $158,256 for pool buildings in 2019.

All 15 RA pool facilities have projects listed in the proposed list. By far the most expensive is work on the Lake Thoreau pool, totaling just over $1 million.

The $1.8 million in proposed work on all pool facilities equates to 26.6 percent of the $6.7 million funding allotted for the Capital Projects List. The proposed budget also allots a total of $2.9 million for the Repair and Replacement Reserve (RRR) Fund, out of the $14.3 million in total overall expenses.

Some other big ticket items on the project list include:

  • $2,321,359 for lakes, ponds and dams
  • $465,000 for boat docks at Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau
  • $406,658 for tennis courts
  • $379,318 for asphalt trails
  • $313,658 for vehicles and equipment

The next opportunity for Restonians to provide feedback to RA directors about the biennial budget is this Sunday. The RA is hosting a “community drop-in” at the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from 10-11:30 a.m.

The RA Board has been discussing the budget since this summer in order to reach agreement before a November deadline. Sridhar Ganesan, RA Board at-large director and treasurer, questioned the various costs of the swimming pool facility repairs during some of those discussions, including at a special budget session last month (video).

“Plumbing in one facility isn’t going to be the same costs as the other, just because of the differences in configuration and size,” Garrett Skinner, RA director of capital improvement planning and projects, said in response. “All of those numbers were also vetted through contractors. Especially the pool buildings and swimming pool members. We had contractors come out and go physically through each one of the sites, look at what we have scheduled that needs to be done and determine costs based on that.”

Skinner, who was hired in January, also emphasized that some of the repairs were not anticipated in the association’s capital reserve study the was last performed in 2015. The study tracks needed maintenance and upgrades for RA-owned facilities. Instead, the repairs on the swimming pool facilities were proposed to be done during the next two years because the systems had broken down in some way.

“We’re doing it because it wasn’t in the reserve study for example; you’re doing it because something broke down?” Ganesan asked.

Skinner said Ganesan was correct, adding that the maintenance is necessary.

“Not all of these things were appropriately identified in the reserve study, but we still have to maintain them and repair them,” he said.

The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be Oct. 26 during a regular board meeting. A second hearing is scheduled Oct. 30 during a special meeting of the board. The board will vote on the budget and the annual member assessment rate Nov. 16 during a regular board meeting.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Better the pools than the Lake House.

    • what if scenario?

      also under budget review
      . pony barn
      . tennis courts
      . hook rd

      etc. when do RA members get a clear view of all projects under review in contrast with what the budget has in store for us?

      Sri has been very good to us and I hope he will provide even more clarity to my points, and more.

      like for example,
      what if we paid lake hut off?
      what if we reduced exec pay to $1?
      what if we did not renovate storage?
      what if we charged renters RA fees?
      what if we charged airbnbs extra?
      what if we charged for pool and tennis?

      • Donald

        What if you read the Reserve Studies, the Capital Projects Report and the draft Budget?

        Donald

  • Donald

    This is what Reserves are for. Not paying off low interest loans.

    Donald

  • 40yearsinreston

    Ditch the glossy PR magazine
    Not only would it save money but also some tree and landfills

    • Tom

      Only ditch it if it’s not making money.

      • 40yearsinreston

        What place has Connelly and Hudgins opinions in it ?

      • Greg

        It would make a lot more money if it were not printed and mailed.

        Use those million-dollar web tools that Fulkerson bought for posting the propaganda.

  • 40yearsinreston

    Skinner sounds like a brain box, not!
    I’m surprised he got off his backside and exercised his mouth

  • Donald

    Elite bureaucrats. Really?

    Rarely do I go to the purely emotional side on this forum, but, I’m sorry— your comments are completely asinine.

    Apologies,
    Donald

    • SouthLakes

      Donald,

      We are at a sore point if random commentators are elevating the RA to “elite bureaucrats”. Agreed, the comments are asinine. You’re a lone voice of reason on this site.

      • Donald

        I don’t speak alone, when I say the community wants to focus on its future, not the past and present agendas of a manipulative few.

        Let’s rally around what Reston can be.

        Donald

        • TheKingJAK

          In order to understand what Reston can be, one needs to first understand what it was.

          • Donald

            Reston was a beautiful, innovative, state-of-the-art, growing, vibrant, loving, forgiving, and caring community. And that’s what it must be in the future.

            Do you focus and harp on your child’s mistakes of the past, as you plan for hers or his future?

            Even the military wipes away the young recruit’s past, and builds her or him up for the future.

            Donald

          • Greg

            Not so vibrant…it’s time to let the past go.

          • Donald

            Actually, you and I agree here. I was asked what we need to learn from our history. While I believe we need to learn from our past, we can’t stay there.

            I look forward to a board that is ready to tell me “… here’s what Reston needs to be over the next 20 to 40 years, and we need your help Donald…”

            I don’t need a board that has its own beliefs, personal agendas, and manipulatively pursuades the uninformed. They only harm the community.

            Donald

          • Greg

            It’s the same with pools. Rarely used and closed most of the year. Costly to maintain and outrageously expensive to “renovate.”

            Others have, more than once, have requested your help. I don’t recall your answer…

            And, the board will never be more than that. Among other things, they are not compensated, most of them are not trained or experienced in that which they are asked to do, and nearly all of them are motivated to run because of some actions or lack of actions that a previous board did.

          • Donald

            Not sure what you’re asking Greg.

            Donald

          • Greg

            Growing and vibrant.

  • Restonisnotforfamilies

    So, let me get this straight. I don’t own a boat or live on a lake, yet I have to pay $465,000 for boat docks? But, we’re not in the “childcare business” so we can’t spend $10,000 for the After School program that will eventually pay for itself after a few more children are enrolled and has a huge potential for profit just like the camp program (RA’s cash cow) does. I guess if you don’t live on a lake, a young family, or aren’t part of the RA elite you voice goes unheard.
    Still trying to understand why the board decided to end the program mid year and leave parents without childcare and staff without jobs. School has started and there are waiting list, how does a parent find short notice child care? How are staff expected to stay until the last day, while trying to find a job during this time. It was not a good move to stop the program mid year without notice. This board was not thinking about the people when it made this decision to stop mid year.

    • Donald

      A solid argument. Wholeheartedly agree. The shortsightedness of this board continues to be a disservice to the members.

      Donald

      • Restonisnotforfamilies

        I totally agree

    • Scott

      While I’m all for fiduciary responsibility, your post is completely off base and self-centered. No one will ever use every amenity managed by an organization the size of RA.
      Do you use the pools? I do not. Why should I pay for your pool use? I also do not have a boat or live on a lake. I do use the paths. I’ve lived in Reston for 17 years and have never visited the Walker Nature Center, but I have a young daughter so I assume I probably will for the next 15 years or so.

      You also willingly chose to live here. I assume you knew that Reston had pools and lakes? The issue is not that RA manages facilities used by part of the membership. The issue is when there is mismanagement.

      • Donald

        Scoot, food for thought. It is misguided mismanagement of this board to cancel a program without any consideration of its impact to the affected members and their families. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        Donald

        • Scott

          I make no comment re: the child care decision as I have no knowledge, but to decry docks at lakes that are open to all members as “elitist” is silly. At it’s core mission, RA is tasked with maintaining property and facilities the membership owns.
          Childcare, however, is not and upon further thought, should not be done by RA. RA is a home owners assoc, not a day care. There is no reason for RA to focus in running a daycare biz instead of managing it’s core mission of being an HOA.

          • Donald

            Good points. But, you should review this board’s decision regarding the after school program.

            Question: Assume your property is adjacent to a ball field, and my family decides to use it for a few hours, and I park on your street. Should you be able to pay more in your assessment to keep us away?

            Donald

          • Scott

            I’m not following your question.

          • Donald

            Well, using your argument, if you lived adjacent to a ball field, I think you should pay for its maintenance – not me.

            If homeowners on lakes are asked to pay for their maintenance, they could hold easily claim the asset is for their use only. I actually believe many of those owners might like that.

            Donald

          • Scott

            I don’t think I made that argument

          • Donald

            Fair enough. My bad.

          • Restonisnotforfamilies

            Should we cancel all the camp programs? Should we stop all the enrichment club actives like sign language and fishing for kids? What about the activities where parents drop their children off at the Nature House and go out while their children are doing crafts or entertained? Should we stop these programs? Should we stop all the tours, because we’re not a travel agency? Should we stop all the 55+ programs, because we aren’t a Sr. Center? It just doesn’t make sense.
            No one said that docks and lakes were only for “elitist” you did. Its just with some of the decisions being made aren’t keeping all of Reston in mind, just some.

      • Restonisnotforfamilies

        If you read my entire comment you’d understand that an after school program is no different from the camps that have been run for 40years. You’d also understand that my anger is not with the closure of the program, BUT DECIDING TO CLOSE IT MID YEAR WITHOUT WARNING. The board should allow this program to run until the end of the school year instead of abandoning families and staff members without notice. They also stated that it cost $10,000 for the year to run this program for the year, so the program cost too much to run. Yet, thousands are being dumped into other programs this year. How many programs pay for themselves? This is a new program and I believe with time it will pay for itself as camps do. Should we also shut camps down? I mean they are childcare.
        I also didn’t hear mention of where the 55+ classes will be moved to since the Lake House will now be a “corporate rental”. The 55+ classes are held their during the day and add to the $10,000 cost for the programs at the Lake House, yet all that has been mentioned is the after school program. Just look online and view what’s being held there in conjunction with the after school program. I was under the understanding that the Lake House is supposed to be used for members and was not supposed to be a corporate rental space with member usage only when a corporate rental is not there.

        • One LibIknow

          Insist that Fulkerson be fired.

          • Donald

            The board made the decision, not the CEO.

            “…CEO Cate Fulkerson also said that several affected parents had sent in letters. In the end, though, the Board determined that Reston Association should not be in the child-care business.
            ‘It’s not that I want to take away your child care, it’s that I fundamentally recognize that we have a ton of members whose $6 is a big deal to them … to service a very small number of kids,’ said Victoria White, Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative. ‘Quite frankly, we’re a homeowners’ association. We’re not a child-care provider..,’ “

            https://www.restonnow.com/2017/10/02/reston-association-board-moves-forward-with-ending-afterschool-programming-at-lake-house/#disqus_thread

            Donald

    • pc

      Lakefront homeowners do not benefit from boat docks (and I wonder if the article means boat ramps and not docks since Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau do no have ramps today). It is quite the opposite: lakefront homeowners have their own docks or cluster docks….not provided or paid for by RA. Therefore, one could argue that lakefront homeowners will be paying for something that they will not use and that will increase traffic on “their” lake.

  • Scott

    Question for Reston Now.
    Your article characterizes the pool work as “upgrades”.
    The RA quotes characterizes everything as repairs and necessary maintenance.
    Can this be clarified?

    The RA Board and select staff, made a critical (and predicted) error on the lake house boon-doggle, wasting millions in member funds. RA members do not have unlimited funds and choices must be made. The RA board certainly has a duty to maintain facilities. IF, however, any of the $1.8Million is for anything characterized as an upgrade, then it should be cancelled until the RA board fixes the financial hole caused by Lake House. The RA Board’s first duty is a fiduciary one to it’s members.

    P.S. I’m being generous calling the Lake Hosue an “error”. Every issue with the valuation and rosy income projections were pointed out prior to the deal happening and the contract being written that allowed Tetra to bail out on the lease is either an example of gross incompetence or fraud. The entire transaction smells of fraud. Follow the money. Who at Tetra, RA, and elsewhere profited from this?

    • 40yearsinreston

      Lake front owners get the benefit in increased property valuations
      They should pay for this
      An surcharge should not be difficult to set up
      Why doesnt the cluster associations at the lake pony up ?

      • Scott

        I’m not sure what your really has to do with my comment.

    • One LibIknow

      Former Tetra owner, the seller in this transaction killed himself while in bankruptcy shortly after the deal. Fishy much?

  • Greg

    Fewer, better, larger pools. All-season pools. Start with closing the ones the expensive RA consultants recommended closing: Shadowood and Tall Oaks.

    Investing millions of dollars in a bunch of assets that are, at best, used three months of the year is waste.

    • 40yearsinreston

      is this about the Lake White Elephant ?

      • Greg

        That, too!

    • TheKingJAK

      All-season entails indoor pools, and that would not only be massively more expensive to construct and maintain, but it would furthermore detract from the concept of getting outdoors in the summertime. Now if they simply brought back a bubble for cooler season swimming, then I’d be all for that.

      • Greg

        We neither said nor advocate for indoor pools.

        “Fewer” is the first, and most important, word.

        “Waste” is the last, and second most important word.

        • Donald

          You might want to see how the rest of the 21,000 households feel about the idea of “fewer” pools. I believe the Tall Oaks pool is about to get many new users.

          Donald

          • Greg

            Nope. Wrong.

            We’ve already paid, several times, for consultants who know what they are doing and how to do it. The results were clear.

            And, you might want to see about rewiring believe circuit.

          • Donald

            Gee, OK

            Sure thing, you seem to know what’s best for the rest of us.

            I still might ask the community via referendum, but that’s just me.

            I do believe (just me again) the new Tall Oaks residents will be utilizing the Tall Oaks pool. It’s just food for thought.

            Donald

          • Greg

            Again, we never said what’s best for the rest of us: that’s your SOP.

            SEVERAL consulting firms did as do decades worth of attendance records.

            It’s highly unlikely that the long-overdue Tall Oaks rebuild will fill the pool — which will never be open more than 3 months of any year.

            There is no need to waste more money on a referendum — that’s why we have a board. They are elected to represent our interests.

            And lest you forget, referenda are often ignored by the RA or, worse, lead to debacles like the Tetra / lake house debacle.

          • Donald

            I believe (my wiring) the community wants the pools and is willing to pay for their maintenance via Assessment and Reserve dollars.

            Closing pools can be a very expensive scenario as well. The Association cannot leave empty, and no longer utilized facilities, to sit vacant and deteriorate. Home values would be affected and the legal liability would have to be taken into account.

            Donald

          • Greg

            Once again with your belief. It is wildly off base.

            In case you didn’t get it the first umpteen times we’ve mentioned it, it’s the paid professional consultants whose recommendations the RA should follow and you should obtain and read.

          • Donald

            Closing each pool would save RA from $47,116 to $59,849 per pool annually, but that would only result in a savings of less than $3 on annual assessments, RA estimates show.
            Larry Butler, RA’s Senior Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources, said the expense of shutting down and repurposing a pool becomes very expensive. The board voted to keep those pools open.
            Butler said it cost RA about $700,000 to repurpose Lake Anne Pool into a park more than 10 years ago. He added that $40,000 was in demolition costs alone.
            Board members said last fall closing pools is a tough subject that is worthy of more discussion, but not as a means of keeping assessments down. They said it should be part of a future bigger discussion on facilities and long-range planning.

          • Greg

            We do not advocate for $700,000 “repurposed pools.” That clearly was way too much ten years ago and is still way too much today.

            RA is talking about $1.8 million in pool renovations — renovations that will not extend the functions of the assets or extend their annual days used.

            $40k in pool demolition is very high, but it’s still a bargain compared to $1.8 million for renovating single-purpose assets that are poorly used and closed nine months of every year.

            It should (and is) not be a tough subject to not spend $1.8 million dollars and it should be (and is) less tough to close an asset that is used by a handful of people for a few days a year.

            Once the pool assets are closed, as recommended by several consultants, the board and community can continue discussing future uses while the savings accumulate.

          • Donald

            You know what. I don’t think we’re going to agree here. I feel differently.

            But, I enjoy good dialogues here in the comments area. I’ll let you have the last word Greg.

            All the best,

            Donald

          • Greg

            Clearly not. Your postings about doubling the RA assessment are shocking. Especially considering how poorly, if not fraudulently, the RA has done over the decades toward that end. And in maintaining its own assets.

          • Donald

            Well, maybe one more word 🙂

            I’m willing that pay more, so long as I see value in the services rendered. Reston’s assessment is far less than other developments around us. It’s staring to show.

            I do enjoy the dialogue.

            Donald

          • Greg

            All the more reason to close the underused and poorly maintained pools — and change management at RA — Fulkerson is way past her good until date.

          • Donald

            Management or the board?

            Who makes the big decisions on our behalf? Management? I think not.

            It’s the majority of nine people. They dictate our destiny.

            Look at the board meetings. Who sits at the very end of the table taking notes for the president? It’s the CEO.

            Read the governing documents again.

            Donald

  • TheKingJAK

    If RA doesn’t clear and maintain them, then nobody will. FYI, the neighborhoods all still have concrete sidewalks, whereas the pathways are the same both north and south of Baron Cameron.

  • Donald

    Personally, I don’t think that’s a viable solution.

    Donald

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