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Reston Association Board of Directors to Consider Carrying Over Funds, Capital Projects Schedule

by Fatimah Waseem December 13, 2017 at 11:30 am 33 Comments

At their monthly meeting, the Reston Association Board of Directors will consider whether or not to carry over nearly $2.3 million in unspent, allocated dollars for capital projects from this year to next year.

A majority of the projects were put on hold for a major part of the year and last year, including the renovation of the Central Services Facility, the renovation of the Pony Barn Recreation Area, the replacement of a dock at Lake Anne, pathway lighting at Hunters Woods and the upgrades to the Lake Anne Dam.

The board will also set the schedule for capital projects that will begin in the first quarter of next year, including the $161,000 resurfacing project of clay courts at North Hills and nearly $163,000 in audio visual equipment upgrades to RA’s conference center.

The board will also discuss Reston Association’s Fit Kids Enrichment Club in response to concerns that the Lake House after school care program was being conducted under a different name and location.

The agenda for Thursday night’s meeting of the RA Board of Directors also includes:

  • The reappointment of Brian Berga to the the Fiscal Meeting for a term lasting through December 2020
  • A land use update by Larry Butler, Senior Director of Parks, Recreation & Community Resources
  • An executive session on the CEO’s performance evaluation

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m.. in RA headquarters tomorrow. For those unable to attend, the meeting will be livestreamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

  • Greg

    “$163,000 in audio visual equipment upgrades to RA’s conference center.”

    Nothing but with best for the so-called conference center.

    #absurd waste of money.

    • 40yearsinreston

      The Director Of Projects needs better technology to showcase his PowerPoint slides
      Transparencies and a desktop projector don’t highlight his genius

      Consultants bring their own equipment

    • Umust B Kidding

      Going VIRTUAL REALITY!

    • Old Fartz

      This is why we need a high school student on the board, they have a better sense of reality.
      At the end of the term we will give the HS student a test to see if they become corrupted or not. If yes, we start the next term with two HS positions on the board and so forth until we get it right.

      • The Constitutionalist

        “This is why we need a high school student on the board, they have a better sense of reality.”

        Good Lord.

        Listening to you has actually convinced me that’s true in at least one case.

  • John Higgins

    Correction: It is Brian Grega, one of the most qualified on the Fiscal Committee, whose reappointment will be taken up.

  • 40yearsinreston

    ‘”Executive session on the CEO’s performance’ ?
    Not holding.my breath, but she should be fired for the Lake House debacle

    Carry over of funds ? How about a dues rebate ?

    • John Higgins

      Looking at the list of uncompleted capital projects that will be taken up in 2018 (carried over to the new year) it’s not obvious which ones, if any, might be cancelled. But I like your idea of a rebate. The latest financial report tells us that RA expects a surplus of $300,000 for 2017. That means our assessment for 2017 was about $15 more than needed for the year.

      No one has explained it yet, but I expect that $300k is being added to prior year surpluses and is the new-found wealth that will permit payoff of the Lake House loan. Thus, indirectly, it is being returned to us by way of lower assessment for 2018. Still, I’d like to see the math. If the $300k is in addition to the amount needed for payoff, we ought to know that.

  • Reston Senior

    During this meeting will they discuss how they will no longer hold the fitness classes for seniors at the Lake House because they want only corporate rentals? We we told the Lake house would be for the community to use when we voted for the Lake House. This board has voted to use it only as a rental and not make it available to members by cutting all activities to include classes that seniors in this community attend. Shame on you board

    • The Constitutionalist

      Yep, this is the first time ever that the RA has given anybody the middle finger and decided to do their own thing contrary to the community’s input.

      Big surprise.

  • SP

    It’s amazing that the board can spend 163,000 on audio visual equipment yet kick old people out of the Lake House and cancel their fitness program because they want to rent it out for a profit. I thought Reston Association was a non profit? It’s a amazing that members pay an association fee each year and have to pay an expensive rate just to use the facilities our dues pay to maintain. Why are members paying for a Lake House they can’t use, because its now a corporate rental? What happened to having facilities available for member use? The average person that lives here in Reston can not afford the cost to rent any of the facilities their dues pay to maintain here. This board cares nothing about its members.

    • The Constitutionalist

      The entire RA is a cancer.

  • Restonisnotforfamilies

    Why is there so much concern about a youth program that could draw (and keep)young families to the area? Why are programs for older adults(referring to earlier post) and children being cut while thousands are being spent on audio visual , Pony Barn, tennis courts, etc? This community clearly lacks activities for school age, tweens, and teenagers to do during the cooler months. There aren’t any activities geared to certain age groups at all. Also if you don’t play soft ball, soccer, or tennis there aren’t any activities for school age youth. How can we attract and keep families if there is a lack of activities for their children? Who wants to stay in a community where you pay for the upkeep of facilities you aren’t able to use? Your dues are paying to upkeep rental properties for those who can afford the high price to rent them. This board is not serving the community well, or don’t have them in mind as they vote.

    • The Constitutionalist

      Let’s take a poll of every family in Reston and ask them to rank where their children’s extra curricular activities ranked in their decision making process when choosing where to live.

      Then, after you find that it was at the bottom, we’ll all take some basic economics classes together and learn about why people choose to live where they do.

      We could even, because these are super fun, take a quiz on the number one reason why people move to different places. (Their job).

      • Restonisnotforfamilies

        Ask that question to a young family. Their answer would be the school system, family activities, safety, and quality of life for their family. This is why so many commute a long distance to “their job”. This is why when you read the Reston brochures, articles, and magazines they speak 98% about quality of family life here to include its camp program

  • Restonisnotforfamilies

    There was a lot of talk at the last meeting about “child care” and the low price of classes and how it couldn’t make money and they didn’t want to “subsidize” child care. Isn’t all of Reston being subsidized? I don’t use the pools, trails, tennis courts, or lakes, so I’m in fact paying for or subsidizing those that do. I don’t have young children or children that play on the ball fields, but I live in Reston so I’m subsidizing those that have children that do. Do the lakes, pools, trails, etc. generate income? If not I’m in fact paying for people to use them or subsidizing. I was alarmed at the way the director spoke. He clearly was not speaking for the people. Did he ever stop to think that everyone that rents or owns in Reston may not be able to afford the high cost to put their children in certain activities? Yes, this person pays their dues just like every other member and he spoke as if the members that used this program were lower class people that we beneath him. If this is the type of person representing Reston, Reston is doomed. His statements and the actions of this board are not inclusive of all that live here.

    • John Higgins

      You make a good point about RA dues “subsidizing” virtually all the facilities and many of the programs offered to members. The Lake House situation is quite different. Acquiring the Lake House was not strongly supported by members, for a number of reasons. To overcome at least part of the objection, RA committed to developing programs which would be (a) self-supporting and (b) generate sufficient additional revenue to pay the operating costs of the property.

      One such program was after-school childcare. It sounded to many like a good idea. It turns out that not all good ideas are wise ideas. The program did not live up to expectations. What the board found was surprising to many of us: fewer than 20 children were enrolled. (I’ve heard numbers between 12 and 18 as the actual count.) Unlike other RA programs, this one is in competition with other childcare – and some users were upset to see it go because the fees were less than they would have paid elsewhere.

      Had it at least paid for itself, never mind generating a profit, it would likely have continued….that was the expectation of those who voted to acquire Lake House. But serving perhaps fewer than 12 of the 20,000 members, and doing so at a loss, made termination of a non-core HOA function a not-so-difficult choice. We will all be watching to see if the next brilliant business plan is any wiser.

      • Restonisnotforfamilies

        Thank you for the reply. I never heard of the childcare program before the meeting. How long did the program run? Did they advertise this program properly? Like all new programs and businesses it takes a little while for them to generate revenue. Maybe they should of at least given it a chance before they cut this program. I didn’t even know there were fitness programs offered at the Lake House until I read the comment section. I think it’s an advertising problem. I’m sure more would use the services if they knew about them. So will they cancel all programs that do not pay for themselves or generate a profit? I’m sure the camp program did not pay for itself the first few years. Until I know how long this program has been running, I can’t hold them accountable for the low numbers…….maybe it’s the 1st year of the program, this would explain the numbers. It looks as if they’re canceling something that could be great for the community before it even starts. To include a fitness class for older adults in this is a bad all around.

        • John Higgins

          The after-school program began a little over a year ago. While not a potential user of the program, I recall a number of ads for it and looking back I see it has predominantly advertised in Reston Magazine we all receive. Seems to me it is one of those things that don’t register unless one is “in the market”, and if one is, it’s hard to miss.
          No argument with the points you make that we should be slow to judge the value of HOA programs based on their profitability. As you know, we bought into a community with significant amenities (trails, pools, tennis, ball fields, lakes, etc.) the upkeep of which is the responsibility of RA whether or not they bring in a dime of revenue. Personally, I’m disturbed to hear board discussion of closing some pools based on bottom line considerations rather than their contribution to the communities they serve, limited as it might be.
          After-school programs might be viewed quite differently. They are not a core HOA responsibility. They were not an expectation of those who bought into Reston. The capacity for enrollment, unlike the hundreds of families served by traditional camps, is so limited as to almost guaranty subsidy by 99% for the benefit of 1%.
          All things being equal (which they never are) I would not object to the dollar or two it costs me per year to support this program, if for no other reason than it enhances the value of my property to be in a community with robust programming. Yet I am mindful that the main selling point for acquisition of Lake House was that rentals of the property would be a major source of paying for it. It turns out that is not so because the availability for rental is restricted by these other uses.
          I expect that your views are shared by many people. It is useful to communicate them directly to the district and at-large directors who represent you. It’s my understanding that few of those folks read the comments in RestonNow.

    • The Constitutionalist

      “Isn’t all of Reston being subsidized?”

      Yes. That’s a problem. If you want to pay for someone to do something you don’t want to do, great, you do that.

      “Did he ever stop to think that everyone that rents or owns in Reston may not be able to afford the high cost to put their children in certain activities?”

      Perhaps they should’ve thought about the consequences of making life changing decisions?

      Reston is an expensive place to live. Why do we make it more expensive for everyone in an effort to make it more affordable for some?

      • Restonisnotforfamilies

        Some bought here when it didn’t cost as much as it does now to live here. Some of us are older retired adults that could/can afford to live here, but can’t afford to use some of the services they pay dues for. Why am I expected to pay $200 a hour for Lake House my dues pay for, or Glade room, or Brown’s Chapel, or any other facility? The Lake House was bought for members to enjoy, yet this board has decided that it will become a rental facility. What does canceling fitness classes and cutting enrichment programs have to do with not being able to afford to live here? Many people chose to live here with their families for what they believed Reston offered for families. There is no different between people using the Lakes, trails, and pools being subsidized by those of us that can’t because of disabilities. They are just picking and choosing what is subsidized. Btw, last time I remembered in every material on Reston I’ve read they’ve made sure to mention that Reston is a place that all can live and enjoy. I’m not understanding what your point is. This isn’t about income its about picking and choosing, because I’m 100% sure the pools and trails aren’t paying for themselves and if only those that used them paid for them there would be no way they could continue to be upkept

        • The Constitutionalist

          The point is that you shouldn’t pay for something you don’t use. You can’t monetize the trails, that’s understandable. You can monetize everything else and run a balanced budget where every amenity is required to pay for itself. If something doesn’t, it needs to be looked at. This has been a recurring discussion for years.

          • Greg

            And, finally and thankfully, the current board is taking action to cut costs, sacred cows, pet projects, waste, and more.

            We hope they take a closer look at the AV apparatus and reject most, if not all, of it.

  • SK

    The board plans to discuss the my fitness class at this meeting. We’ve had our last class and I hope this board will vote to keep all the classes at the Lake house. The class was very enjoyable and also located near my home, so it’s a perfect place for myself and others that attend the classes. The Lake House has been a great community resource for the programs held there. It would be unfortunate if they choose to stop programming. I hope they can continue

    • Greg

      Take your fitness lessons at any number of local tax-paying gyms. Several of which are located right here in Reston.

      Ten of the best: https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=gyms&find_loc=Reston%2C+VA

      Support a local small business.

      There is no need for the RA to be harming those businesses at the expense of all RA members when only a very small fraction of 1% of RA members use at a facility the RA doesn’t need and shouldn’t have purchased.

      • SK

        So, the 1% are not important. If we were in the business of using outside companies for our business then why would anyone move here? They moved here to use the pools, trails, tennis courts, take classes at the Nature Center, go on the 55+ trips, kids camps, etc. These are all things that can be done at the local tax paying gyms, community centers, and gyms. This is what our assessment is for and the appeal of Reston. I’ve lived here many years and because of health reasons can’t enjoy a lot of the things my assessment pays for, but this is one class I can attend and use and it’s upsetting that its being taken away. There are quite a few over 20 in the class that feel the same way. Our voice doesn’t count because we are not in the majority and have been forgotten, but we pay and have paid our dues for years. Instead of thinking of us as a number or placing a money value on your fellow community members try including our voice and listening. Reston has changed and not to the benefit of those that are growing older here or the young family. Take care

        • Greg

          It is what it is, and it’s far less than 1%. Those voices should count appropriately. Even 100 users is still 0.005 percent of the total assessment paying members.

          If you want voluntary dues, join the country club. We pay mandatory assessments in Reston.

          People move to Great Falls, Vienna, McLean, Sterling. Springfield and hundreds more communities and do just fine with the commercial services available. They patronize service providers of their own choosing and pay for those services with their money.

          Show us where in the RA governing documents that RA is supposed to pay for displacing commercial gyms and senior living arrangements and all the other things you list?

          No one moved here or stays here for the Lake House and the entire way it was acquired and being managed is quite likely fraudulent if not criminal.

          It should be sold and the CEO who pushed for its acquisition fired.

        • Greg

          PS — there’s still no cemetery in Reston. Don’t grow too old here.

  • Sean

    After reading these comments and being a reader of Reston Now. I think you all are addressing the wrong issues. The Lake House is a done issue. We have it now and we’re paying for it. The focus should be on the members being able to use and get enjoyment out of the facilities they(we) pay for. The Lake House and other facilities should be open and available for member use and enjoyment at certain times during the week or day. Is this not what our dues are paying for? I’m unsure when Reston Association became for a “for profit” business, but over the last 10yrs this is what seems to be happening as we slowly move away from serving the members in the name of profit and hatred of the CEO and Lake House. We were promised a place for members to enjoy in the Lake House, yet that isn’t happening because its a corporate rental sponsored by Comstock 1st. This is not only the Lake House, but the Glade room that a pre school uses all day, and Browns Chapel that is also for rental only. When will be have a facility we can host a card game, a book club, just sit and enjoy other residents in, etc a few days a week for free because we pay a yearly assessment? This isn’t about a child care or fitness program this is about money, hatred, and the members not being able to use member paid for facilities. Will the board address that?

    • Greg

      No, you are addressing the wrong issues: to wit:

      1. Sell the Lake House
      2. Fire the incompetent CEO who is ultimately responsible for its purchase.
      3. Reduce the assessment–is is not a country-club voluntary “dues” as the assessment is mandatory and runs with the deed to one’s land, lot, or condominium–by selling the Lake House (and other underused, obsolete, unwanted, or unneeded assets).
      4. Allow the members to spend their money as they see it on whatever services they want for themselves — not some rigged-up uses with a tiny fraction of 1% of the members using — to justify the bad decision to purchase the lake house the should-be fired CEO arranged.
      5. Get the RA to focus on its core responsibilities of maintaining and repurposing the assets which it already has for contemporaneous (not idealist 1960’s) uses — functions the RA is struggling to perform and performing poorly. See the absurd wasteful expense in AV apparatus above.

      Hate is inflammatory, dissuasive, and irrelevant to the matters at hand — particularly considering the overpaid incompetent CEO. Her poor actions, rhetoric, and, skills speak for themselves.

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