Reston Association eyeing potential increase in 2022 operating costs

Reston Association is weighing how it will address expected costs that are projected to rise.

A budget document presented to the board suggested a 6% increase in next year’s assessment, which would potentially move dues from $718 to $764. But acting CEO Larry Butler said the board has a variety of ways to try to address the potential increases in costs, which could include reducing services or a mixture of strategies.

Butler discussed possible funding scenarios at the Board of Directors meeting last week. The second draft of the budget will go to RA’s fiscal committee for review on Oct. 13 following a public hearing on Oct. 6.

The board is expected to hold a second public hearing on Nov. 10 and adopt the final budget on Nov. 18.

The budget for 2021 set $19.2 million for operating revenues. That’s slated to rise to $21.6 million for 2022 and nearly $21.7 million in 2023, where budget documents appear to use a placeholder of an increased assessment fee.

Rather than have an increased assessment fee simply take care of the issue, the board is exploring budget iterations about how to move forward.

“Clearly you can — you can just raise the assessment 15.5%,” Butler said during a Thursday meeting regarding the biennial budget, which would make the assessment $829. “I’m … not recommending that.”

RA is looking to increase operating costs from less than $16 million for its 2021 budget to $17.5 million next year and $17.9 million the following year, based on a budget draft so far.

Around two-thirds of the service organization’s operating costs are personnel, and Butler is strongly recommending a 3% merit-based increase. He suggested that would help retain staff, which total around 100 full-timers.

The association is also looking at a five-year capital projects plan. It calls for improvements to facilities such as pools including Lake Thoreau and tennis courts, of around $3 million to nearly $4 million each year from 2022-2026.

According to a memo from Butler to the board of directors and a fiscal committee, the draft budget called for adding several new positions that include the following:

  • a registrar to assist members with online transactions, run reports, improve the customer experience and more; the position would have a total compensation of $60,000 and that could reduce other budget line items by $13,800 with the new position,
  • a financial services manager, whose salary and benefits would total $102,000,
  • a capital projects manager whose total compensation would be $84,000,
  • an applications analyst, whose duties would include but not be limited to data analytics, with a compensation package of $108,000.

The association is also eyeing whether it would replace or change current openings that involve a director of information technology and an aquatics program manager.

Despite the draft budget discussed, the association says a preliminary budget is not yet available.

RA spokesperson Mike Leone said in a statement, “The Board of Directors, Fiscal Committee and RA Staff are working to develop a draft budget for discussion at the Oct. 4 Board Budget Work session.”

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