Reston Association fee increase among topics of concerns at hearing

People shared their concerns during a public hearing yesterday with Reston Association’s board of directors.

An initial budget has suggested the annual assessment fee could increase from $718 to $764, a 6% increase, though Board of Directors president Caren Anton noted it’s not yet finalized.

People submitted written comments and provided feedback during the virtual meeting.

Butler said the main changes with the budget currently call for:

  • Increased costs due to inflation and insurance,
  • A 3% merit increase for staff, who received no merit increase this year,
  • Increasing various staff salaries to the bottom of pay ranges,
  • Increasing base pay for lifeguards as well as covering certifications and recertifications, and
  • Adding a senior environmental staff position but not a registrar position.

Butler said aside from the current CEO search, it takes 50 days to fill a vacancy, and he felt it was important to make the salary changes given the difficult job environment.

Speakers took issue with upgrades to Barton Hill tennis courts due to concerns involving driver visibility at a nearby crosswalk during certain times, environmental impacts due to light pollution as well as cost-benefit issues if the association built a covering above the courts.

Butler said RA is no longer considering a covering at this time. The current proposal is to add lighting, repair cracks and add lines on two courts for pickleball.

Mike Sanio submitted a letter, which Anton read into the record, noting the limited availability of lighted tennis and pickleball courts given usage. Other speakers suggested that the association support tennis facilities but in other ways, such as just by maintaining them or making sure there’s enough support before proceeding with lighting upgrades.

Tammi Petrine recommended the association survey its 21,000-plus households rather than pursue proposals for “small groups of vocal people.” She said it could be a working tool and show usage of recreational facilities such as pools and tennis courts and help show what members want and are willing to pay for.

“Why is this not done … maybe every two years?” she said. “We paid $144,000 for a branding study, but we never did a survey, and that seems to be such a useful tool.”

Jordan Fletcher said the the proposed budget call for an 8% increase in staff compensation, among other jumps in costs.

He said the board should carefully consider adding new positions and suggested the association consider factors such as seeing if a service could be automated through information technology, see if underutilized or part-time staff perform similar functions, or look to see if duties could be shifted when new needs arise.

Fletcher also recommended listing all 100-plus positions and their responsibilities and other details to help make more objective decisions.

The association expects another draft to be presented to its fiscal committee on Oct. 20 with the board addressing the second draft at its Oct. 28 meeting.

A second public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 10.

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